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Apr 02 2019

Stone Age Savage Management in Brazil

Formerly acknowledged as a hero for his role in expanding Western Civilization to the New World, Christopher Columbus is now demonized for destroying the idyllic noble savage lifestyle that prevailed in the Western Hemisphere prior to his arrival. But he didn’t destroy it completely. In the rainforests of Brazil, some still live as if Columbus had never arrived. However, the barefoot savages are on the brink of killing each other off:

The biggest expedition in 20 years to reach uncontacted tribes living in the Amazon rainforest is underway in Brazil – to prevent a bloody war breaking out between two of them, the country’s indigenous affairs agency, Funai, said [Saturday].

The Korubo tribe, which specializes in bashing people’s heads in with huge clubs, has been feuding since 1920 with the Matis, who employ blowguns with poison-tipped darts.

A team of 25 people, supported by the Federal Police and Brazilian army, are now […] making their way through the jungle to try to contact the estimated 30 to 40 members of the Korubo tribe at a cost of over £160,000 [$210,126.80].

Leader of the expedition Bruno Pereira reports that “In July last year there was a clash between the tribes, when the Matis stole the hammocks of the Korubos.” Now the tribes are within 12 miles of each other, and if they meet up, the consequences could be even worse.

At other times, a more hands-off approach is preferred, as in the case of a lone savage believed to be the last survivor of his people:

The 50-something man has been living alone for 22 years in a forest spanning around 4,000 hectares, and is known as The Man of the Hole because he leaves behind deep ditches, presumably used to trap animals or to hide.

Funai has been monitoring the man from afar since 1996, and needs to show he is still alive to renew a restriction order preventing anyone from entering the land where he roams, in Brazil’s north-west state of Rondonia.

Should savages be protected from civilization, or should civilization protect savages from each other? It’s a conundrum for do-gooders.

On a tip from Lyle.

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