Brazil: Land for last survivor of unknown Amazon tribe

November 9, 2006

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The last survivor of an unknown Amazon tribe is to be given more land to ensure his survival.

Very little is known about this uncontacted Indian. He lives on his own in a patch of forest, surrounded by cattle ranches and soya plantations.

It is believed that he is the last survivor of his tribe.

'The man in the hole's' tiny hut in the garden he is cultivating
'The man in the hole's' tiny hut in the garden he is cultivating
His people were almost certainly killed or died from diseases as ranchers, loggers and colonists have poured into the state of Rondônia during the last forty years, destroying the forest, pushing tribal peoples off their land, and even killing them.

The Indian has been nicknamed 'the man in the hole’ because he digs holes several metres deep with spikes at the bottom, to catch animals.

He has also dug a hole in the middle of a tiny hut, where he keeps his few possessions, so he can hide from any outsiders who approach.

He has resisted attempts by the authorities to make contact with him in the past.

The hole inside the hut where the Man in the Hole hides when outsiders approach
The hole inside the hut where 'the man in the hole' hides when outsiders approach
FUNAI, the government’s Indian affairs department, will increase the size of the Tanaru Indigenous Territory where he lives, after discovering he has made small gardens and hunting camps outside the area legally set aside to protect him.

This move will help ensure that 'the man in the hole' will remain isolated, as is his clear wish, and is in line with FUNAI’s policy of not making contact with uncontacted Indians unless their lives are under threat.