Posted at 10:36 PM on June 22, 2008
by Bob Collins
Brazil, you are so off my list... maybe.
This picture above was released last month by José Carlos Meirelles, an official with Brazil's Indian-protection agency. Originally, he said it was a photograph of a heretofore unknown tribe in the Amazon. Now, comes word that he's told National Geographic that the tribe was discovered in 1910.
Or put another way, the photo is a fake -- sort of. Yes, the plane flew over the tribe, and yes they reacted, but -- no -- it's not an "uncontacted tribe," the Guardian reported.
Meirelles admitted that the tribe was first known about almost a century ago and that the apparently chance encounter that produced the now famous images was no accident. 'When we think we might have found an isolated tribe,' he told al-Jazeera, 'a sertanista like me walks in the forest for two or three years to gather evidence and we mark it in our [global positioning system]. We then map the territory the Indians occupy and we draw that protected territory without making contact with them. And finally we set up a small outpost where we can monitor their protection.'
Apparently, Meirelles tracked the tribe down to try to create some support for policies that leave the Amazon, and its tribes, untouched and uncontacted. But he's got some explaining to do, since flying over them and photographing them qualifies as "contact."
His view? He proved the tribes exist despite claims from the president of Peru that uncontacted Amazon tribes are a concoction of environmentalists.
Not that they would stoop to such things, mind you.