As I’ve mentioned in the past, I am endlessly fascinated by the uncontacted tribes that still exist in the deepest parts of the Amazon Rainforest. It boggles my mind to think that there are still people living out there who have had not had any sort of interaction with the modern world or the people who live in it. Having been to the Amazon myself, I realize how remote and wild of a place it truly is, but it is still amazing to know that these tribes still go about their lives as they have for thousands of years in the past.
Now, some new photos have been released that reveal one such tribe living in Brazil’s Yanomami indigenous territory near the border with Venezuela. And while those photos show that the Moxihatetema people – as they are known – continue to struggle with substance living, they are actually thriving despite concerns over outside threats.
The home of the Moxihatetema was feared to be threatened by illegal gold miners who are moving into the area. Those miners bring with them diseases that while common in the modern world, can be deadly to anyone who has not built up an immunity to them. The miners have also polluted waters and food supplies with mercury, which could be devastating to the tribes population too.
Human rights activists have kept an eye on the Moxihatetema for some time, and have feared that their way of life could be wiped out as more outsiders encroached on their territory. But the new photos reveal that the tribe has actually grown in size since it was last observed from a distance. It is believed to now number more than 100 people, with two new families joining the fold.
The images also show the tribe’s “yano” – a communal house – that serves as a home for many of the people who are a part of the community. The photos also reveal the surrounding area that remains an isolating wall with the outside world. That wall is more fragile than it has been in the past however, as more of the miners arrive near by. Officials warn that while this particular tribe seems to be doing well, and is growing in size, the threats they face are as serious as ever, and could result in the entire group being wiped out in a very brief time.
Brazil has taken steps to ensure that the lands that surround the Moxihatetema people are protected, but of course the illegal miners ignore those laws to go in search of the gold that is found there. And since the governmental agency that oversees the indigenous tribes is facing severe budget cuts, it becomes ever more challenging to enforce the rules in these remote corners of the world.
Still, it is amazing to see these people continuing to thrive, and there is a part of me that is cheering for them to continue to resist the advances of modern life. Hopefully they’ll be able to hold out as long as they want, but something tells me it is only a matter of time before their lives change forever.
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