Fighting back against the notion, put forth by American academics, that isolated tribes must be forced into contact with the modern world, Amazonian Indians are warning of another potential Indigenous “genocide” if such ideas come to pass.
U.S. anthropologists Kim Hill, a professor at Arizona State University, and University of Missouri associate professor Robert Walker, have argued that in order to ensure the survival of the most remote tribal people they must be “contacted in a controlled way.”
However, the people of the Amazon disagree.
Survival International, an international nonprofit that champions the rights of tribal people, said in a press statement Tuesday that at least one local tribe, the Guajajara, “have acted to protect nearby uncontacted Awá people in the absence of greater government support.”
Olimpio Guajajara, the leader of the “Guajajara Guardians,” as they call themselves, said in a video uploaded by the organization: “We are here…monitoring the land and defending the uncontacted Indians and the Guajajara who live here. Why? Because there are some people, some anthropologists in other countries who want, once again, to violate the rights of the uncontacted Indians in the country.”
“We are aware that some anthropologists have been calling for ‘controlled contact’ with the uncontacted Indians,” Olimpio continued. “We will not allow this to happen because it will be another genocide of a people…of an Indigenous group which doesn’t want contact.”
According to Survival International’s campaign director Fiona Watson, Indigenous peoples are increasingly “speaking out in defense of uncontacted tribes, which has never been the case before.”
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