Indians’ heartland at risk

April 20, 2007

This page was created in 2007 and may contain language which is now outdated.

The heartland of the last uncontacted Indians south of the Amazon basin is at imminent risk of destruction.

Powerful landowning companies are trying to have injunctions protecting the Indians' territory lifted.

The injunctions are currently the only protection for the last remaining forests of the Ayoreo-Totobiegosode Indians, although these have been flouted too, and long tracks have already been bulldozed into the forest.

Much of the Indians' territory is owned by a Paraguayan company called Jaguarete Pora SA, a merger of the previous landowning companies known as Luna Park International Ltda. and Itakyry SRL.

Under Paraguayan law all this area, as a small remaining part of the Ayoreo's forest homeland, should have been titled to the Indians years ago.  But Jaguarete is instead trying to get permission to bulldoze much of the forest and introduce cattle, a process that has already devastated vast areas of the Ayoreo's territory.

Although most of the Ayoreo tribe, including some members of the Ayoreo-Totobiegosode sub-group, have had contact with outsiders for many years, several groups are known to still live uncontacted in the forest.

The most recent group to emerge came out of the forest in 2004, pleading for water after cattle-farming colonists occupied all the permanent waterholes in their territory.