Whatever you think of the political issues that this video raises, the aerial footage of an “uncontacted” Indian tribe in the Amazon region is extraordinary:
UPDATE: This post prompted this very interesting reminiscence by reader Mike Coleman:
The video you posted brought back some great memories from my childhood. My parents worked in Brazil for 30 years, part of that time in the Brazilian Amazon. My Dad was an agriculturalist who taught colonists along the Trans-Amazon highway how to plant simple crops, raise small herds of cattle, and about nutrition. We lived in the town of Altamira, where the Trans-Amazon highway crosses the Xingu river. This town was recently made famous by the arrival of movie director James Cameron and his protests against building a hydro-electric dam on the Xingu River.
My last year of being home-schooled prior to boarding school was 1977, when I was in the 7th grade. I would do my classwork in the mornings, eat lunch, and then hop on my bike and ride out to the airport not far from our riverfront home. The local airport was base camp for bush pilots who flew into cassiterite mines about an hour and a half up the Xingu river near the remote town of Sao Felix do Xingu.
Being the only American kid for a few hundred miles meant a lot of people wanted to spend time with me to learn to speak English. I proposed teaching one of the pilots English if he would teach me how to fly his plane, and he agreed. About four days a week I would go along on his afternoon flight to the mines, and have a lesson prepared that he would practice. On the way back, I would fly the plane while he would take his turn teaching me how to fly.
One day about an hour into our flight he said he wanted to show me something, and he banked eastward away from the Xingu river. We flew about 20 minutes, and he dropped down to about 500 feet or less and flew along the treetops. Suddenly there was an opening in the jungle canopy, and there on the banks of a creek was a native tribe. The natives were standing outside of their huts looking up at us. The jungle was so thick that the creek could not be seen from the air apart from where the clearing was. At this time in 1977 the Brazilian agency who manage Indian affairs (FUNAI) had not contacted many of the tribes in that area, and according to my pilot friend this particular tribe had not been contacted.
We circled around a bit more, and then resumed our flight back down to the mines. I remember vividly looking back at the tribe, and seeing it disappear back into the canopy. Unless you were directly on top of it, it was invisible. I have scoured google satellite maps looking for that tribe again, but the resolution is not good enough and the area too vast to be able to see such a small tribe.
Most of these tribes have now been contacted, so it was fascinating to see that at least one is still out there. Regardless of how you feel about these things, it is nice to know that there is one place on earth where the parents aren’t having to yell at their kids to get off the Internet and go outside.