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Earth Science

Previously Uncontacted Amazon Tribe Photographed 556

Posted by kdawson
from the bring-down-big-metal-bird dept.
ManicMechanic and other readers sent in news of a tribe of aboriginal people from the border of Peru and Brazil that has been photographed by helicopter for the first time. The images show huts in a village and people in red body paint shooting arrows at the helicopter. The outfit that released the photos, Survival International, works to end illegal logging in the rainforest in order to protect the uncontacted tribes living there. They estimate that 100 uncontacted groups exist worldwide, about half of them in the Amazon basin.
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Previously Uncontacted Amazon Tribe Photographed

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  • by Tebriel (192168) on Friday May 30, 2008 @10:50AM (#23599663)
    Helicopter versus spearmen?

    The f#*&ing spearmen.
  • xo (Score:5, Funny)

    by spandex_panda (1168381) on Friday May 30, 2008 @10:52AM (#23599697)
    quick, drop some XO's for them, THEY NEEDS THE INTERNETS
  • by SputnikPanic (927985) on Friday May 30, 2008 @11:02AM (#23599839)
    I for one would have loved to have been able to hear and understand the conversation that took place among that tribe after the helicopter passed over.
  • Cameras (Score:5, Funny)

    by Kohath (38547) on Friday May 30, 2008 @11:07AM (#23599933)
    Those cameras are watching everyone now!

    Someone setup a jungle expedition. Those tribesmen need tinfoil hats!
  • by IronMagnus (777535) on Friday May 30, 2008 @11:09AM (#23599961)
    That helicopter is probably some sort of god or devil beast to that tribe now... Thats how religion works you know. You see something you don't understand, (try to) kill it, worship it.
  • by FunkyELF (609131) on Friday May 30, 2008 @11:09AM (#23599969)
    news.google.com ... search for amazon ... http://www.ctv.ca/gallery/html/tribe_080530/photo_0.html [www.ctv.ca]
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by SydShamino (547793)
      Interesting how the woman in the photo is painted entirely in black, while some of the men have their faces or entire bodies painted in red. Obviously it would be nice to know why they have those customs, but I'm not sure how to find out without disturbing them.
      • by Waffle Iron (339739) on Friday May 30, 2008 @12:34PM (#23601175)

        Interesting how the woman in the photo is painted entirely in black, while some of the men have their faces or entire bodies painted in red. Obviously it would be nice to know why they have those customs, but I'm not sure how to find out without disturbing them.

        The colors differentiate the class of warrior. When they go out on dangerous missions, the ones painted red get killed, the ones painted blue return unharmed, and the ones painted gold get laid.

  • by Ladred (935342) on Friday May 30, 2008 @11:14AM (#23600053)
    "Members of one of the worlds last uncontacted tribes have been spotted and photographed from the air near the Brazil-Peru border." ... "said uncontacted tribes expert Jose Carlos dos Reis Meirelles Junior." Grats Jose, you just worked yourself out of a job. Some expert you are!
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by danilo.moret (997554)
      Actually lots of those uncontacted tribes are known and are photographed from time to time. However they exact location and the pictures is not disclosed often, because even though the jungle is huge someone would certainly try to reach them, and it would be difficult to prevent it from happening. The expert did this as a media stunt to draw attention to the protection of the areas these tribes live.

      Some quotes of what the expert said to Brazilian's newspaper O Globo http://oglobo.globo.com/pais/mat/2008/05 [globo.com]
  • by east coast (590680) on Friday May 30, 2008 @11:18AM (#23600103)
    A small Peruvian tribe has taught you: Ceremonial Burial.

    Or maybe

    A small Chilean tribe has given you: Skilled Warrior.

    Wow!
  • Arrogance. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by LWATCDR (28044) on Friday May 30, 2008 @11:31AM (#23600297) Homepage Journal
    So they are going to be "protected" from contamination.
    Yes I know that many tribes have suffered when the ran into civilized peoples but I wonder how they would feel about it if they knew.
    Yes your child could have been saved with just a few pills but we didn't want to contaminate you.
    Yes you could see what some of the lights in the sky really do look like.
    You could meet people from far across the sea and you two could fly through the air.
    But we don't want to contaminate you.

    I wonder if they where given a choice what they would decide? Maybe it is wrong to not give them the choice.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Soko (17987)
      I wonder if they where given a choice what they would decide? Maybe it is wrong to not give them the choice.

      Redundant question. There is no way to give them the choice without "contaminating" them, since you'd have to show them "The Wonders of the Modern Age" to give them the information they need to make a proper choice. Once they know about those, the innocence is gone and their culture changed irrevocably.

      Of your "Yes" points, the only one I'm sad to not be able to do is the medicine one. However, maybe
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by LWATCDR (28044)
        "Of your "Yes" points, the only one I'm sad to not be able to do is the medicine one. However, maybe they know about medicines we only dream of."
        Yea right sure they do...
        The myth of the noble enlightened savage.
        Life before technology was short brutal and pretty dull. Yes they mow know of some plant that may have some medical benefits but that is just a maybe.

        As I said it seems like the burden of the white man V 2.0 to me.

        • Re:Arrogance. (Score:4, Insightful)

          by somersault (912633) on Friday May 30, 2008 @12:28PM (#23601097) Homepage Journal
          Well, for the older generation, they have no chance of integrating into normal society, and for their kids, they are just going to end up like any other kids.. well apart from the fact that their parents may end up messed up on drugs and alcohol (as seems to happen to people like in inuit tribes up in the north of Canada etc). Life before technology wasn't necessarily dull. It could be quite brutal yes, but at least they probably have strong family units and a good sense of belonging in their tribe. In today's modern world, we all live in tightly packed areas, but hardly know anyone around us. It can end up being a very lonely existence. (yeah, boohoo for me eh :p ).

          If these people got to experience our own culture and then were given a choice, I'm sure at least some of them - especially the older generation - would prefer to go back to the way things were.
      • Re:Arrogance. (Score:5, Informative)

        by Paul Jakma (2677) <paul+slashdot@jakma.org> on Friday May 30, 2008 @12:04PM (#23600747) Homepage Journal
        From the BBC article: Being uncontacted, these tribes have no immunity to a number of otherwise mild diseases, so contact often leads to deaths (smallpox, flu, etc).
    • Re:Arrogance. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jonhainer (188206) on Friday May 30, 2008 @12:26PM (#23601061)
      "Uncontacted tribes" is a poor choice of phrasing. "Self-isolated tribes" may be better. These people are not stupid, and they know that other people exist. If anyone in that tribe wanted to contact the outside world, they'd just walk over to a logging camp or a park headquarters.

      You say that these people should have a choice, and they do. They have specifically decided not to come to meet us, and in fact, they go out of their way to avoid us. We should respect that choice and leave them be.
    • Re:Arrogance. (Score:5, Informative)

      by flaming error (1041742) on Friday May 30, 2008 @12:41PM (#23601303) Journal
      > Maybe it is wrong to not give them the choice.

      Maybe it's kind of arrogant to think they don't have the choice already. They can go exploring other places if they want to.
    • Re:Arrogance. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by AbRASiON (589899) * on Friday May 30, 2008 @01:03PM (#23601635) Journal
      If there's one thing I'm learning about life as I get older - and maybe just maybe I'm turning a little hippie but the one beautiful and pure thing in nature is innocence.

      When we watch a movie and a child or an animal dies, most of us get upset, we cry, we're sad - it's wrong.
      You have an adult die and it's a whole different thing, the key thing is the innocence, it's a beautiful and pure thing.

      Nature in itself is innocent, beautiful and natural; sorry but I don't care how we could help these people, we've got enough mess as it is now, let them enjoy themselves, they are living life how they want to and frankly good on them.

    • Arrogance? My ass (Score:5, Insightful)

      by SamP2 (1097897) on Friday May 30, 2008 @01:06PM (#23601675)
      Yes your child could have been saved with just a few pills but we didn't want to contaminate you.

      Yes, as opposed to million of African children who die of malaria every year despite the fact that the aforementioned few pills could have easily saved them?

      Yes you could see what some of the lights in the sky really do look like.

      Yes, as opposed to the 95% percent of world population that will never see anything except the dirt they are digging or the nike shoes going past them in the assembly line? Forget about luxuries like university education, even things like books and the fucking internet is out of reach for most of the world's people.

      You could meet people from far across the sea and you two could fly through the air.

      Yes, as opposed to the millions of refugees who can't leave their war-striken country because nobody will give them a visa? Forget the plane or ship, they can't even leave on foot!

      But we don't want to contaminate you.

      I see your point, but by suggesting that we have some enlightened duty to help those "stone age" people, you are in fact using the same preferential treatment you are accusing others to have against them. There are hundreds of millions of poor, illiterate, disease-striken people in the world, who would GLADLY accept our help. Hell, there are many poor, illiterate, disease-striken people in our own fucking country. Help THEM out before you boldly take your morals to where no man has gone before.
  • by apodyopsis (1048476) on Friday May 30, 2008 @11:43AM (#23600453)
    It would of been fascinating to see them try and skin, roast and eat the helicopter after they brought it down. That would be the mother of all cooking fires.

  • by Ecuador (740021) on Friday May 30, 2008 @11:44AM (#23600479) Homepage
    Hey, isn't flying over with a helicopter, a blatant violation of the Prime Directive?
  • Neolithic is normal (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gobbo (567674) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (etirwerw)> on Friday May 30, 2008 @11:48AM (#23600515) Journal
    Let's not forget that these people represent a kind of norm. This biological form that we take right now more or less developed during the long Stone Age -- i.e. most of our unwritten history is in that way of life. It means that the roots of our culture, and perhaps the way our brains are organised, draw sustenance from this long period.

    We need these people to be just who they are, unchanged, for our own understanding of ourselves.

    The problem is the ethics of contact: do we withhold the benefits of civilization? Is modernization a fair process? It's easy to dismiss a preservationist approach as romanticizing the savage, from your abstracted armchair reality. But, live with tribal peoples for a while, and you realize that short of modern medicine and food surpluses, not only is it not so bad, it has distinct advantages as a lifestyle, and is not so different from our own.

    Whatever. I expect them to be overrun, poisoned, shot, and assimilated, then held up as an example of the superiority of civilization.
  • by superyooser (100462) on Friday May 30, 2008 @11:54AM (#23600581) Homepage Journal
    The BBC has good photos [bbc.co.uk] and a close-up with explanations of the people and objects seen [bbc.co.uk].

    Although we do not know the name of the recently discovered tribe in Brazil, or what language they speak, it is possible to tease out some clues as to their way of life from the aerial photographs taken by the Brazilian government. ...
  • by Ruben Gonzales (1294412) on Friday May 30, 2008 @11:56AM (#23600619)
    Has the MPAA filed a lawsuit yet? Their red body paint totally infringes upon several trademarks connected to Indiana Jones, as is the whole "being an Indian".
  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Friday May 30, 2008 @11:58AM (#23600647) Journal
    ... for OOXML to be accepted as an ISO standard. Their spearman ooops, spokesman said, "though MSOffice does not support our language yet, I am sure they will soon because they gave us a picture of King Ballmer, and 24 glass beads".
  • by Chysn (898420) on Friday May 30, 2008 @12:00PM (#23600681)
    ...welcome our new spear-wielding overlords.
  • by Cathoderoytube (1088737) on Friday May 30, 2008 @12:00PM (#23600683)
    You can only imagine a discovery like this is the sort of thing every Anthropologist dreams of. Finding some primitive culture, previously untouched by the outside world. Making contact with the people for the first time. Then showing them the power of the machine gun and overthrowing their chief, then ruling the tribe with an iron fist.
  • I wonder if (Score:5, Funny)

    by swamp boy (151038) on Friday May 30, 2008 @12:00PM (#23600693)
    they dropped a Coke bottle from the helicopter and it happened to land within the tribe area. ("The Gods Must Be Crazy")
  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Friday May 30, 2008 @12:04PM (#23600737) Homepage Journal
    These tribespeople are giving the rest of our species a valuable lesson in how to greet the aliens when they land.

    None of this kumbaiyaa stuff that lets sinister aliens into our arms before we know they'll enslave us. Throw some spears at them to see how serious they are about making contact. If they aren't sophisticated enough to anticipate our violent reaction to their sudden appearance, they won't have anything worth learning that we can't get from just capturing some of their spacecraft. If they're really that superior, they'll take it in stride and calm us down.

    And if they're really evil, we'll at least have a chance to fight them off, rather than falling for some kind of "To Serve Man [wikipedia.org]" conjob.

    That's exactly how this Amazon contact will play out. Why shouldn't we expect at least as much from our even more distant cousins when they arrive at our little backwater planet?
  • by SoundGuyNoise (864550) on Friday May 30, 2008 @12:06PM (#23600789) Homepage
    Just drop a Coke bottle [imdb.com] with a GPS receiver or a mini cam. Let's see how they react to it.
  • Earth Tribe (Score:3, Interesting)

    by owlman17 (871857) on Friday May 30, 2008 @12:15PM (#23600903)
    "Previously uncontacted planet photographed"

    Reading the article made me think if in the grand scheme of things, are we are the equivalent of these people to sufficiently advanced alien civilizations? "Spears against helicopters" might as well me like one of our Raptors going up against alien recon craft. Like this tribe, we'll probably think they're hostile (our literature, films are filled with alien war themes) but for all we know, they aren't really. It would probably be hubris to think something that advanced would go out of their way to invade us. (Like sending modern marines with automatic weapons against spear-wielding people, in terms of scale.)

    Arrghh. Too much Civ!!! (One more turn...)
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Shakrai (717556) *

      It would probably be hubris to think something that advanced would go out of their way to invade us.

      Why would that be hubris? It's not exactly unpredecented [wikipedia.org] for an advanced power to displace a less advanced one.

      Invade is probably the wrong word though. Nature is full of examples of more adaptable/aggressive/advanced life forms pushing out less adaptable/aggressive/advanced ones. That's the most likely explanation for the disappearance of the Neanderthals -- displaced by more aggressive/adaptable Cro-Magnons. Homo Sapiens have done it to each other too (see the aforementioned link). It's not even

  • Reality Check (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mpapet (761907) on Friday May 30, 2008 @12:29PM (#23601101) Homepage
    The way these things generally work is the term "uncontacted" is used to generate readership rather than reflect reality.

    The more accurate phrase is minmal contact. Please remember, they share a forest with other tribes. There's interaction of all kinds.

    In this case, geography minimized contact with the industrialized world. Those "uncontacted" tribes probably have at least one person that's gone all the way to the big city wherever it is thought to be.

    Also note they are being pushed out by deforestation efforts, so you bet they've been on the wrong side of weapons and dealt with the industrialized world.

"It's curtains for you, Mighty Mouse! This gun is so futuristic that even *I* don't know how it works!" -- from Ralph Bakshi's Mighty Mouse

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