Uncontacted peoples, also referred to as isolated peoples or lost tribes, are communities who live, or have lived, either by choice (people living in voluntary isolation) or by circumstance, without significant or first contact with greater civilization. Few people have remained totally uncontacted by modern civilization. Indigenous rights activists call for such groups to be left alone, stating that contact will interfere with their right to self-determination. In addition, isolated tribes may lack immunity to common diseases, which can kill a large percentage of their people after contact.
In 2013, it was estimated that there were more than 100 uncontacted tribes around the world, mostly in the densely forested areas of South America, Central Africa, and New Guinea, while Sentinels (Andaman Islands, India) are the most secluded tribe in the world. Knowledge of the existence of these groups comes mostly from infrequent and sometimes violent encounters with neighbouring tribes, and from aerial footage.
Uncontacted tribes are a source of fascination in "contacted" society, and the idea of tour operators offering extreme adventure tours to specifically search out uncontacted people has become controversial. A BBC Four documentary in 2006 documented a controversial American tour operator who specialised in escorted tours to "discover" uncontacted people in West Papua. In 1971 the BBC made a documentary, A Blank on the Map, hosted by Sir David Attenborough, in which the first contact was made with the Biami people of Papua New Guinea.
The Sentinelese people of North Sentinel Island, which lies to the west of the southern part of South Andaman Island in the Bay of Bengal reject contact. Their language is markedly different from other languages on the Andamans, which suggests that they have remained uncontacted for thousands of years. They have been called by experts the most isolated people in the world, and they are likely to remain so. During the 2001 Census of India, a joint expedition was conducted during 23–24 February 2001 in two batches. The first batch was able to identify 31 Sentinelese. The second batch counted 39 Sentinelese consisting of male and female adults, children and infants. Helicopter surveys after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami indicate the Sentinelese survived. After the tsunami, North Sentinel Island and Constance Island merged. The local Andaman and Nicobar administration has adopted an "eyes-on and hands-off" policy to ensure that no poachers enter the island. A protocol of circumnavigation of North Sentinel Island has been made and notified in consultation with the Indian government.
In 1984, a group of Pintupi people who were living a traditional hunter-gatherer life were tracked down in the Gibson Desert in Western Australia. For the first time, they encountered people from Western society. They are believed to have been the last uncontacted tribe in Australia.
Large areas of New Guinea are unexplored by scientists and anthropologists due to extensive forestation and mountainous terrain. Known indigenous tribes in Papua New Guinea have very little contact with local authorities aside from the authorities knowing who they are. Many are illiterate at the national or international level, and the names of tribes and information about them is extremely hard to obtain.
The Indonesian provinces of Papua and West Papua on the island of New Guinea are home to an estimated 44 uncontacted tribal groups. Isolated tribes have been reported also in the eastern Indonesian islands.
It is believed that the last group of uncontacted native peoples in North America were the Lacandón people, contacted in the early part of the 20th century. Both Ishi's Yahi family, and the Lacandón Maya, were aware of European colonisation and the civilisation that had developed from it, but purposefully avoided any direct contact, preferring to interact only with other native peoples.
Ishi, a Yahi, is believed to have been the last Native American in the U.S. to have lived most of his life completely outside the culture of the United States. In 1911, aged around 50, he emerged from the "wild" near Oroville, California, leaving his ancestral homeland in the foothills near Lassen Peak.
The last group of people to make contact within the environs of Mexico were the Lacandón people, thought to be a formerly urban Maya population that had retreated into the Lacandon jungle of the Yucatán Peninsula to flee Spanish colonisation. The Lacandon who call themselves "Hachwinik" have been completely secluded from society since the 17th century. Initial contact was established in 1924, though it would be a number of decades before they fully emerged. Major deforestation in 1993 caused the population of the Lacandon people to drop significantly. As of 1996, they numbered around 500 people.
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As of 2006, the presence of five uncontacted groups was confirmed in Bolivia; three more uncontacted groups are believed to exist. The groups whose presence has been confirmed are the Ayoreo in Kaa-Iya National Park, the Mbya-Yuqui in the Yuqui Reservation and Rio Usurinta (most of the Yuqui are now contacted; only a few families remain uncontacted), the Yurakare in Santa Cruz and Beni, the Pacahuara in the Chacobo reservation, and a group of Araona in the Araona Reservation, and the Toromona in Madidi National Park. The presence of other groups, such as the Nahua in Madidi National Park, has yet to be confirmed.
|Sinabo/Kapuibo (Nahua)||Under 200||Between the lower Beni and the lower Yata||
|Toromona||200||Eastern bank of the Manurini River, Madidi National Park|
|Yanaigua||100–200||Between the Rio Grande and Upper San Miguel|
|Yuqui||100||Between Upper Ichilo and Upper Yapacani||
In 2005, Bolivia signed the Declaration of Belém, which recognised the basic rights of the uncontacted people.
The status of the uncontacted people of Bolivia are as follows:
- Reported from the Bolivian Chaco. Consists of around five families, reported from the Kaa Iya del Gran Chaco National Park. There are four bands, of which the names of two are known: Atétadie´gosode and Tacheigosode.
- Composed of some four families. They have intermittent contact with the Christianized Yuqui, who were resettled by the Christian New Tribes Mission (NTM) in the 1960s to the village of Bia Recuate. Live in the Yuqui Native Community Land Tierra Comunitaria de Origen – TCO, especially near the El Chore Forest Reserve (Municipality of Yapacaní). A small band is also found in Río Usehuta (municipality of Puerto Villarroel). According to reliable sources, the Yuqui number some 49 families, of which 35 are Christianised and 14 are uncontacted. However, David Jabin claims that only four families remain in isolation currently,[when?] after the NTM infamously air-lifted large number of isolated Indians to Bia Recuate in 1989 and 1992.
- Live in the Isiboro Secure National Park Indigenous Territory (On the tri-junction of the Santa Cruz, Beni and Cochabamba departments). The Yuracaré are under threat from drug traffickers.
- A small band comprising five families reported from Santa Rosa de Abuná municipality in Pando. Christian Evangelists from the Chacobo-Pacahuara Captaincy were attempting contact as of 2013. Also reported from Arroyo Cayuvín between the Río Pacahuara and the Río Negro (Municipality of Nuevo Manoa).
- Toromona, Ese Eja, and Nahua
- Reported from the Madidi National Park. The region is quite remote, and this seems to keep out the loggers and missionaries. The Toromona are found along the Rio Colorado and Rio Enhajehua (Municipality of Ixiamas). The Yora (Ese Eja) are nomads who criss-cross the Bolivia-Peru border, and are found along the Río Heath region (Municipality of Ixiamas).
- Uncontacted bands live in the Araona Native Community Land. Reported from Río Manurimi and Alto Manupare (Municipality of Ixiamas). The contacted bands of Araona number some 100 persons in total, and live under the supervision of the evangelical Christian organisation New Tribes Mission (NTM). Both the NTM and the SIL are pursuing contact with the remaining uncontacted Araona, but these attempts have ended in failure.
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On January 18, 2007, FUNAI reported that it had confirmed the presence of 67 uncontacted tribes in Brazil, up from 40 in 2005. With this reported increase, Brazil has surpassed the island of New Guinea (divided between Indonesia and Papua New Guinea) as the region having the highest number of uncontacted tribes.
- TI Alto Tarauacá in Acre – Various tribes. (Isolados do Alto Tarauacá).
- TI Hi-Merimã in Amazonas – Himerimã. (Isolados do médio Purus).
- TI Massaco in Rondônia – Sirionó. (Isolados do rio São Simão).
- TI Igarapé Omerê in Rondônia – Kanoe do Omerê and Akuntsu.
- TI Rio Muqui in Rondônia – Isolados das cabeceiras do rio Muqui (given as Miqueleno-Kujubim in the table).
- TI Rio Pardo in Mato Grosso and Amazonas – Isolados do Rio Pardo (Tupi–Guarani–Kawahibi).
- TI Xinane isolados in Acre – unidentified.
Uncontacted groups living in other tribes' Terras Indígenas are:
- TI Awá in Maranhão – Awá.
- TI Nivarura in Amazonas. First Contacted by Xionity missionaries in 2010.
- TI Avá-Canoeiro in Goiás – Avá-Canoeiro.
- TI Arara do Rio Branco in Mato Grosso – Isolados da margem esquerda do médio Rio Roosevelt/Rio Branco.
- PI Aripuanã in Rondônia – Isolados da margem esquerda do médio Rio Aripuanã, Isolados do Río Pacutinga/Aripuanã, Isolados do Médio Rio Branco do Aripuanã.
- TI Bujiwa in Amazonas. (First contacted in 1943.)
- TI Caru in Maranhão – Awá (Isolados do igarapé Água Branca).
- TI Inãwébohona (reservation overlapped to the Araguaia National Park), and a small part of TI Parque do Araguaia in Tocantins – Avá-Canoeiro (Isolados da Mata do Mamão).
- TI Kampa e Isolados do Rio Envira in Acre – Isolados do rio Envira.
- TI Kaxinawa do Rio Humaitá in Acre – unidentified.
- TI Koatinemo in Pará – unidentified.
- TI Menkragnoti in Pará – Mengra Mrari.
- TI Raposa Serra do Sol in Roraima – unidentified, discovered in 2006. Near Monte Roraima and Monte Caburaí (2 to 4 km from Brazil-Venezuela-Guyana tri-junction).
- TI Mamoadate in Acre – Mashko (Isolados do Alto Iaco).
- TI Jaminaua-Envira – Isolados das cabeceiras do rio Jaminaua. (Part of Papavo.)
- TI Riozinho do Alto Envira in Acre – Isolados do Riozinho/Envira. (Part of Papavo.)
- TI Rio Teá in Amazonas – Four bands of Nadeb(?): Cabeceira dos rios Waranaçu e Gururu, Médio rio Tiquié, Cabeceiras dos rios Curicuriari e Dji and Cabeceiras do rio Teá. Two more bands nearby in Eneiuxi (Médio rio Eneiuxi) and Urubaxi (Cabeceira do rio Urubaxi e Bafuanã) are possibly Nedeb (given as Nadeb in the table).
- PI Tumucumaque in Pará – Akurio.
- TI Uru-Eu-Wau-Wau in Rondônia – four to six groups of isolated people, including Isolados das cabeceiras do rio Muqui, Isolados do rio Cautário, Cabeceiras do rio Água Branca and Jururei.
- TI Vale do Javari in Amazonas – seven groups of isolated people: Cabeceiras de Santana e igarapé Flexeira, Korubo, Isolados do Coari-Río Branco, Isolados do rio Quixito, Isolados do Rio Jandiatuba, Isolados do Rio Jutaí e Isolados dos rios Jaquirana/Amburus.
- TI Waimiri Atroari in Amazonas – Formadores do rio Alalaú (Piriutiti) and Formadores do rio Jatapu (Karafawyana or Chamakoto).
- TI Xikrin do Cateté in Pará.
- TI Araribóia in Mato Grosso – Isolados dos rios Buriticupu e Taruparu.
- TI Cuminapanema – Zo’é.
- TI Tanaru – Only one individual, the "Tanaru Isolated Indian". Remaining members of the tribe were massacred or wiped out by disease.
|Apiaká||over 100||Mato Grosso – Between Lower Juruena and Lower Teles Pires||
|Apurinã||over 50||Amazonas – Upper Rio Sepatini||Arawak.|
|Aruá||75 at most||Rondônia||
|Avá-Canoeiro||around 30||Three locations in the states of Goiás, Tocantins and Minas Gerais.
|Guaja||120 [already counted among the known group]||Maranhão – Scattered throughout the western part of the state||
|Hi-Merimã||1,500||Riozinho, tributary of the Cuniuã, Purus Basin, Amazonas.||Arawan(?). Their area has recently been declared protected.|
|Ingarune||around 100||North Pará – Rio Cuminapanema and Paru de Oeste||
|Kanibo (Mayo)||120–150||Rio Quixito, Javari Basin, Amazonas||Probably Pano.
|Kaniwa (Korubo)||300||9 malocas in Between Lower Ituí and Lower Itacuaí, Amazonas||Pano.
|Karafawyana and other isolated Carib tribes.||400–500||Four locations in Roraima and north Pará.
|Karitiana||50–100||Upper Rio Candeias, Rondônia.||Tupi–Arikem. Identified by the small group that has been contacted.|
|Katawixi||50||Upper Rio Muquim, tributary of the Purus, Amazonas.||Isolated language. One community only has been located.|
|Kayapó do Rio Liberdade||over 100||Lower Rio Liberdade, northern Mato Grosso.||Gé. Identified by other Kayapó towards whom they are hostile.|
|Kayapó-Pu'ro||100||Lower Rio Curuá, South Pará.||Kayapó. Group which has broken away from the Mekragnoti since 1940. Outside Kayapó I.T.|
|Kayapó-Pituiaro||200||Rio Murure, South Pará.||Kayapó. Group which has broken away from the Kuben-kranken since 1950. Partly outside Kayapó I.T.|
|Kayapó-Kararao||around 50||Lower Rio Guajara, South Pará.||Kayapó. Group which has broken away from the Kararao. Struggles are part of their traditions.|
|Kozicky||unknown||Rio Curuça, Amazonas.||Kayapó. Small, hostile group. Occasionally known to contact with modern society.|
|Kulina||unknown||Rio Curuça, tributary of the Javari, Amazonas.||Arawan. Small isolate communities belonging to the big Kulina group.|
|Maku (Nadeb)||around 100||Uneiuxi and Urubaxi Basins, Amazonas.||Isolated language. Isolated elements of Maku groups that have already been contacted. Hunter-gatherers.|
|Mamaindé||50–100||Upper Rio Corumbiara, Rondônia.||Isolated language. Isolated group of Nambikwara. A no-entry zone was allocated and then cancelled under local pressure. Recently massacred.|
|Man of the Hole||1||TI Tanaru, Rondônia.||Believed to be the last of his tribe.|
|Mayoruna||200–300||3 locations in Amazonas:
||Pano. Small isolated communities of the large Mayoruna group.|
|Miqueleno (Cujubi)||unknown||Upper Rio São Miguel, Rondônia||Isolated Chapakura language. Area invaded by loggers. Recently massacred.|
|Nereyana||around 100||Rio Panama, headwaters of Paru do Oeste, North Pará.||Karib. Perhaps more closely related to the Kachuyana than to the Tiriyo.|
||around 150||Serra dos Pacaás Novos, Rondônia.
||Isolated Chapakura language. Isolated groups belonging to the major Pacaás Novos group. Included in the Uru-eu-wau-wau I.T.
|Papavo Supergroup, which includes:
||over 400||Acre (Scattered over a single large territory)
||Many isolated communities belonging to four distinct groups. Struggling is part of their traditions: reciprocal hostile contacts with the Kampa (whom they plunder), and peaceful ones with the Kulina; they plunder the loggers' encampments.
|Pariuaia||over 100||Rio Bararati, tributary of the Lower Juruena, Amazonas.||Probably Tupi–Kawahib, Tupi–Guarani. Have refused all contact since 1930.|
|Piriutiti||100–200||Rio Curiau, Amazonas.||Related to the Waimiri-Atroari (Karib). Some live in, others outside, the latter's I.T.|
|Sateré||unknown||Rio Parauari, tributary of the Maués-açu, Amazonas.||Tupi. Communities that split away from the Sateré-Maué a long time ago.|
|Tupi–Kawahib (Piripicura)||200–300||Between the Madeirinha and Roosevelt Rivers, northern Mato Grosso.||Tupi–Guarani. A no-entry zone has just been allocated for them.|
|Uru-Eu-Wau-Wau||300||Serra dos Pakaás-Novas, Rondônia.||Tupi–Guarani. There remain over 3 uncontacted groups. Several hostile encounters with gold-seekers and loggers. All are included in the vast Uru-eu-wau-wau I.T.|
|Wayãpi (Yawãpi)||100–150||Upper Ipitinga, between the Jari and the Paru do Leste, northern Pará.||Tupi–Guarani. Group which formerly broke away from the Southern Wayãpi.|
|Yakarawakta||20–30||Between the Rios Aripuanã and Juruena, Mato Grosso Norte.||Tupi–Guarani. Probably an Apiaka sub-group.|
|name unknown||around 100||Between the Upper Amapari and Upper Oiapoque, Amapa.||Unspecified language family. According to the Southern Wayãpi, a group that formerly broke away from them. According to the Northern Wayãpi, one of their former enemy groups, the Tapüiy.|
|name unknown ("Indians of the headwaters of the river Humaita")||around 300||Acre, near the Peruvian border||
|name unknown (Isolados do Jandiatuba)||300||Between the Upper Jandiatuba and the Itacuaí, Amazonas.||Maybe a Katukina group.|
|name unknown (Isolados do São José)||300||Igarapé São José, tributary of the Itacuaí, Amazonas.||Seems to be a group distinct from Isolados do Jandiatuba.|
|name unknown||unknown||Igarapé Recreio, Cruzeiro do Sul municipality, Upper Juruá, Acre.||Panoan(?)|
|name unknown (Isolados do Igarapé Tueré)||unknown||Igarapé Tueré, tributary of the Itacaiúnas, Pará.||Tupi(?)|
|name unknown (Isolados do Arama e Inaui)||around 100||South of Rio Inauini, Purus Basin, Amazonas.|
|name unknown (Isolados do Igarapé Umari)||unknown||Igarapé Umari, tributary of the Ituxi, Amazonas.|
|name unknown (Isolados da Serra do Taquaral)||unknown||Serra do Taquaral, source of the Rio Branco, Rondônia.|
Of the known uncontacted peoples of Brazil, according to the above, 16 live in the Brazilian state of Amazonas, 7 in Rondônia, 8 in Pará, 2 in Acre, 3 in Mato Grosso, and one each in Amapá, Maranhão, Roraima, Tocantins, Goiás and Minas Gerais. Keep in mind some migrate between state lines.
In 2013, the FUNAI published a list of known locations of 104 uncontacted bands of indigenous people. Another list gives the names of 17 tribes, which are classified as "Recently contacted".
The groups which are classified as recently contacted are: Korubo do Igarapé Quebrado, Zo’é, Akuntsu do vale do Rio Omerê, Piripkura, Kanoe do vale do Rio Omerê, Zuruahá, Yanomami, Ye'kuana, Arara do Para, Araweté, Parakanã, Awá-Guajá, Uru-Eu-Wau-Wau, Avá-Canoeiro, Juma, Hüpdah-Yuhupde, and Waimiri-Atroari.
Of the 104 references for uncontacted bands, 26 are confirmed references, and the remaining 78 are "under study". Of this, 9 references come under the Frente de Proteção Etnoambiental Awá-Guajá. 6 are reported by the Frente de Proteção Cuminapanema, 5 by Frente de Proteção Etnoambiental Guaporé, 9 by Frente de Proteção Etnoambiental Madeira, 13 by Frente de Proteção Etnoambiental Madeirinha-Juruena, 13 by Frente de Proteção Etnoambiental Médio Xingu, 6 by Frente de Proteção Etnoambiental Uru-Eu-Wau-Wau, 20 by Frente de Proteção Etnoambiental Vale do Javari, 5 by Frente de Proteção Etnoambiental Waimiri-Atroari, 13 by Frente de Proteção Etnoambiental Yanomami, and 6 by Frente de Proteção Etnoambiental Envira.
The references where the uncontacted bands are found (References newly identified in 2013 given in Purple):
- Frente de Proteção Etnoambiental Awá-Guajá: 1. Igarapé Presídio/ Juriti 2. TI Araribóia 3. Serra do Cipó 4. Igarapé Mão de Onça 5. Igarapé Mutum 6. Rio Arraias 7. Rio Gurupi 8. Cana Brava 9. Igarapé Jararaca (all except #3 are Awá-Guajá. #3 is unknown).
- Frente de Proteção Cuminapanema: 10. Alto Rio Mapuera 11. Trombetas/ Mapuera 12. Rio Mapari 13. Alto Amapari 14. Alto Rio Ipitinga 15. Jari (all unknown, but #14 is possibly Waiana or Apalai)
- Frente de Proteção Etnoambiental Guaporé: 16. Massaco 17. Índio do buraco / Tanaru 18. Rio Tenente Marques 19. Emawenê-Nawé / Rio Iquê 20. Corumbiara (#16 may be Sirionó, #18 may be Nambikwara).
- Frente de Proteção Etnoambiental Madeira: 21. Rio Mucuim 22. Manicorezinho 23. Igarapé Preto 24. Rio Maici / Piranhã 25. Cachoeira do Remo 26. Bom Futuro 27. Rio Coti 28. Kaidjuwa 29. Jacareúba-Katawixi (all unknown, but #29 possibly related to Katawaixi).
- Frente de Proteção Etnoambiental Madeirinha-Juruena: 30. Igarapé Boca da Mata 31. Médio Rio Branco 32. Arara do Rio Branco 33. Norte da TO Zoró 34. Serra do Cachimbo 35. Rio dos Peixes 36. Norte fa Munduruku 37. Rio Parauari 38. Alto Rio Canumã 39. Igarapé Pacutinga 40. Pontal 41. Igarapé Bica da Mata 42. Kawahiva do Rio Pardo (#35 probably Kayabi, and #42 confirmed as Kawahiva people).
- Frente de Proteção Etnoambiental Médio Xingu: 43. Riozinho do Anfrizo 44. Iriri Novo Cabeceira do Ipiaçava 46. Cabeceira do Ipiaçava e Bacajaí 47. Cabeceira Piranhaquara 48. Igarapé Mossoró 49. Interfluvio Carajari 50. Rio Fresco 51. Igarapé Itata (#44 and #50 probably Kayapo).
- Frente de Proteção Etnoambiental Purus: 52. Hi-Merimã 53. Igarapé Maburruã 54. Rio Cuniuá 55. Igarapé do Sol
- Frente de Proteção Etnoambiental Uru-Eu-Wau-Wau: 56. Igarapé Oriente 57. Bananeira 58. Tiradentes 59. Baixo Cautário 60. Cautário 61. Serra da Onça / Jurureí (#57 and #61 possibly Kawahiva people, and #58 seems to be Amondaua).
- Frente de Proteção Etnoambiental Vale do Javari: 62. Rio Pedra 63. Igarapé São Salvador 64. Igarapé Pedro Lopes 65. Curuça Ipixuna 66. Batã Ipixuna 67. Quixito 68. Igarapé Cravo 69. Igarapé Amburus 70. Igarapé Flecheira 71. Igarapé Nauá 72. Rio Itaquaí 73. Igarapé Alerta 74. Igarapé Inferno 75. Rio Bóia 76. Igarapé Lambança 77. Rio Ituí 78. Rio Quixito 79. Ituí / Itaquaí 80. Rio Esquerdo 81. Igarapé São José (#73 probably Kulina, #77 and #79 is Korubo).
- Frente de Proteção Etnoambiental Waimiri-Atroari: 82. Alto Rio Jatapu 83. Médio Macucuaú 84. Rio Pitinga 85. Cabeceira do Camanaú 86. Alto Rio Alalaú (#86 is Pirititi).
- Frente de Proteção Etnoambiental Yanomami: 87. Igarapé Waranaçu 88. Rio Uauapes 89. Rio Curicuriari 90. Igarapé do Natal 91. Igarapé Bafuanã 92. Surucucu/Kataroa 93. Parawau 94. Rio Padauiri 95. Awaris 96. Surucucu/Wathou 97. Igarapé Jacitara 98. Baixo Rio Cauaburi 99. Serra da Estrutura / Moxihatëtëma (#87, #88, and #89 are Maku, #90, #91, and #98 are unknown, and the rest are Yanomami. #92 is Yanomami-Puduthëri, #93 is Yanomami-Xihouthëri, #94 is Yanomami-Hoaxipokoproapethëri, and #99 is Yanomami-Moxihatëtëma).
- Frente de Proteção Etnoambiental Envira: 100. Xinane e Igarapé do Douro 101. Igarapé Xinane e Imbula 102. Rio Jaminawá 103. Cabeceira do Rio Iaco e Rio Chandiles 104. Igarapé Tapada 105. Mascko-Piro (#100 is Jaminawá, #103 is Masco, and #105 is Mascho Piro).
Due to ongoing conflict, Colombia is a country that offers little protection for isolated groups. Carabayo-Aroje is the one such group, living in the Parque Nacional del Rio Pure. It is not known whether any Yari (another tribe believed to be uncontacted) survives now. Nukaak Maku were contacted in 2003 and 65% of the tribal members died of disease. Around two or three dozen Nukaak still remain isolated.
|Carabayo||150||Amazonas – Source of the Purué River, north of the Putumayo River|
|Guaviare Macusa (Now Nukaak)||300||Guainia – Between the Guaviare River and the Inírida River|
|name unknown (Isolados dos Rio Yari)||unknown||Caqueta – Upper Rio Yari||
It is not known whether any Tagaeri survive now in Yasuni National Park. In the 1990s when a member of the Tagaeri was contacted by a lone Huaorani hunter, he told him that the Tagaeri numbered only a handful of members and are in danger of being wiped out by their hostile neighbours – the Taromenane. Since then there have been no more peaceful contacts. The Tagaeri hunter also mentioned another group, the Oñamenane, who numbered five or six individuals, and one other tribe – the Huiñatare. In 2003 about 30 Taromenane were massacred by the Huaorani in retaliation for the killing of a Huaorani hunter. In the same year 14 Tagaeri were killed by loggers. In April 2006 a logger was speared to death by the Taromenane (in 2005 another one was also killed by the same tribe, whose body was later found embedded with 30 spears and his face unrecognisable). In the same month a further 30 Taromenane and 10 loggers were killed in conflicts according to leader Iki Ima Omene (of Huaorani). In January 2007 the president of Ecuador declared the Southern part of Yasuni a forbidden zone (7,580 square kilometers) in order to protect the uncontacted people. At the same time CONAIE reported that there were a total of 150–300 Taromenane (divided into two sub-tribes) and 20–30 Tagaeri surviving uncontacted there. The Oñamenane and Huiñatare are extinct.
|Huaorani||100–200||Oriente – Between the Upper Napo and Upper Curaray||
The uncontacted bands or nuclear families belonging to the Taromenane and Tagaeiri tribes were located in and around the tributaries of the Rumiyaku, Tiputini, and Curaray rivers (esp. along the Tivacuno, Yasuni Nashiño, Cononaco, Cononaco Chico, Tiwino, and Cuchiyaku rivulets). The major bands identified in 2013 were:
- Cuchiyaku band
- Located in the South-western side of the forbidden zone, along the Rio Curaray. This particular band has been almost exterminated by frequent conflict with the Babeiri group of the Christianised Huaorani. Indigenous organisations have accused the oil companies of bribing the Baeiri, in order to exterminate the uncontacted Indians. In a major massacre in 2003, more than 15 uncontacted Indians were massacred with shotguns and hunting rifles.
- Tivacuno band of Yasuní
- The band is located entirely inside the forbidden zone, which was set up for their protection. The ethnic identity is believed to be Tagaeiri, led by an elder known as Nankamo. This group speaks the Huaorani language. Clashes between the uncontacted Indians and the Christianised ones have not been reported for the past many years.
- Chico Cononaco band
- Located along the Tiwino Road. This group have been heavily decimated due to armed conflicts. It is believed that this band is composed of Taromenane men and Tagaeiri women.
The conflicts occurring in this region are not new phenomena. The conflict started as early as the 1970s, when oil companies recruited Kichwa Indians for their drilling and exploration work. To maintain the law and order, the Ecuadorian government asked the SIL missionaries to resettle the Huaorani to regions away from the oil blocks. In return, the missionaries were supported by the oil companies, who provided them with helicopters and other articles. Most of the Huaorani relocated (90% by 1975), but the remaining free bands soon took over the vacant lands. A part of the territory which was formerly occupied by the extinct Sápara tribe was also conquered.
On March 24, 2013, more than 20 uncontacted Taromenane Indians were killed by contacted/settled Indians who were armed with shotguns and carbines, in retaliation for a previous murder. Human rights/religious activists Miguel Ángel Cabodevilla and Milagros Aguirre authored a book called A Tragedy Hidden Away detailing the massacre, but the Ecuadorian Supreme Court banned its distribution, reversing the ban after two days due to public outcry. The book was later released on the internet.
|Wayãpi||100||Between the Eureupoucine and the Upper Camopi||
As of 2013, it is considered unlikely that there remains any uncontacted ethnic groups in French Guiana.
|Wapishana||100||Between the sources of the Essequibo River and the Tacutu River; Serra Acarai||
|name unknown||around 100||Between the Upper Courantyne and the New River||
As of 2013, probably no uncontacted ethnic groups exist in Guyana.
There remain perhaps as many as 300 Totobiegosode who have not been contacted; they belong to the Ayoreo ethnicity, which numbers around 2,000. In the 1990s the main group attempting to contact them was New Tribes Mission. In 1979 and 1986, the New Tribes Mission was accused of assisting in the forcible contact of nomadic Ayoreo Indians, whose unsuccessful attempts to remain in the forest led to several native deaths. Others died soon after being brought out of the forest. The incident forced some Ayoreo to flee to Bolivia. Ranchers, who illegally encroach on their lands, are a threat to these people. In 2004 a group of 17 Ayoreo-Totobiegosode previously uncontacted made contact with the outside world and decided to settle down (five men, seven women and five children, according to Survival). It was not known whether there were any more isolated Ayoreo left in the jungle. In the first week of September 2007, another uncontacted band of Ayoreo-Totobiegosode were spotted by loggers in the Western Chaco. Ayoreo are believed to be the last uncontacted Indians south of the Amazon basin. In 2008, a Paraguayan ruling blocked a Brazilian company from clearing Totobiegosode to make room for cattle ranches, although the forest is still being cleared illegally.
There are five reserves in the Peruvian Amazon meant to protect the lands and rights of isolated peoples. Most of the reserves are entered by illegal loggers and petroleum companies with legal concessions to work in those lands, although their activities jeopardise the lives of the isolated populations.
After Brazil (67 uncontacted groups confirmed) and New Guinea (Papua New Guinea and Iriyan Jaya), Peru has one of the largest number of uncontacted tribes in the world (15). Some of the groups in Peru are in danger of extermination by loggers and oil development. As of 2006, the locations where uncontacted groups are confirmed to be living are as follows:
- Amarakaeri Communal Reserve: Groups are Yora and other unidentified Panoan tribes.
- Zona Reservada Biabo Cordillera Azul: Cacatibo.
- Parque Nacional del Manu: Mashco-Piro, uncontacted bands of Matsiguenga, tribes belonging to Yura family and unidentified tribes.
- Reserva Communal Asháninka, Reserva Communal Matsiguenga and Parque Nacional Otishi: uncontacted bands of Ashaninka.
- Parque Nacional Alto Purús and Reserva Communal Purús: Yaminahua, Chitonahua, Curajeño and Mashco-Piro-Iñapari.
- Reserva Territorial del Estado: Kungapakori, Nahua, Matsiguenga, Nanti, Krineri and other unidentified tribes.
- Reserva Territorial del Murunahua y Chitonahua: Murunahua, Chitonahua.
- Reserva Territorial del Isconahua: Isconahua.
- Reserva Territorial del Mashco-Piro: Various tribes belonging to Mashco-Piro such as Mascho-Piro-Iñapari.
- Reservas territoriales del Cacataibo: Cacataibo.
|Morunahua||150||This group is probably related to the group that used to be called Papavo in Brazil.|
|Parquenahua||200||Pano. They live in the Manu national park.|
More than a dozen uncontacted bands of Indians remained in Peru as of 2013:
- Divided into at least 3 different bands. One band lives in Rio Purus basin in south Ucayali, while two more were reported from the Rio Las Piedras basin (esp. Rio Tahuamanu and the Rio Los Amigos region). A fourth band, whose existence is not confirmed, is reported from Alto Rio Yurua (North of Rio Purus). Each band is believed to be divided into small nomadic subdivisions. The Mashco-Piro are the remnants of a much larger tribe which was destroyed during the rubber boom. In the 1960s, two of the bands were attacked using dynamite and other explosives by workers from the International Petroleum Company. Attacks after 1999 have been due mainly to the increasing prices of Mahogany. In 2002 a reserve was set up for some of the Mashco-Piro bands. As of 2013, all the bands seem to be surviving. Between 2005 and 2013, Miguel Piovesan, an Italian Christian missionary, campaigned for a road from Puerto Esperanza to Inapari, which would cut through the Mascho-Piro reserve. As a result of Piovesan's campaign, which got good support from the non-indigenous poor population of the region whom the road was intended to help, the government declared its intention to construct such a road. Advocate groups worry that this may push the tribe towards extinction.
- Kugapakori and Nahua bands of Matsigenka
- Although most of the Matsigenka are contacted, some are still uncontacted. The contacted Matsigenka were forcibly resettled by the Summer Institute of Linguistics in the 1950s. The uncontacted bands are reported from Alto Rio Paquiria (in Rio Urubamba basin). As of 2013, the attacks against the uncontacted bands has slowed down, after government created tribal reserves.
- Found along Rio Camisea, Rio Timpia and Rio Ticumpinia (lying in between the Rio Urubamba and Rio Manu basins in Cusco and Madre de Dios). Related to Matsigenka. The first attempted contact was in the 1970s by Christian missionaries, which was followed by loggers and petroleum workers in the 1980s and 1990s. Attempts to contact the tribe continued in 2000–2009 using helicopters. Epidemics such as acute respiratory infections and severe diarrhoea has been reported as a result of these attempts. A regional indigenous organisation, Consejo Matsiguenka del Rio Urubamba reported that a large number of Nanti died in 2003 of epidemics, although the government later countered the claim saying that only 22 have died of epidemics from 2002 June to 2003 June. Most of the dead were children. In 2008, anthropologist Christine Beier reported that between 30% and 50% of the Nanti has died during 2000–2008 due to epidemics.
- Asháninka people
- Most of the uncontacted bands of Ashaninka are located along the foothills of Cordillera Vilcabamba (esp. in Rio Ene basin). Population was estimated at 90 families in 2010. During the 1980 and 1990s, hundreds of uncontacted Ashaninka are believed to have died in the conflicts between government troops and left-wing guerillas. As of 2013, the attacks against the Indians has slowed down and their villages are located inside the Otishi National Park and the Ashaninka Communal Reserve.
- Isolados do Rio Yavari e Rio Tapiche (Mayoruna ?)
- Evidence suggests that this group speaks some of the Panoan languages. There are two distinct tribes, with the one in the north related to the Matses or Northern Mayoruna, while the southern one related to Isconahua or Remo / Southern Mayoruna. In 1964, the Peruvian Air Force attacked some of the villages with Napalm, killing a large number of Indians. The tribes frequently criss-cross the Brazil-Peru border. In 2010, the Marubo living on the Brazilian side of the border claimed that more and more "Mayoruna" from Peru are crossing over to Brazil, in order to escape from loggers and missionaries. Violent clashes has occurred recently between the contacted Marubo and the uncontacted Mayoruna. Missionaries from the Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL) are currently attempting to contact the uncontacted bands.
- Isconahua (Iskobakebu)
- Located in North Ucayali, near the Brazil border. The villages are located in between Alto Rio Calleria, the Rio Utuquinia and the Rio Abujao. A reserve was established in 1998. In 1959, missionaries from the South American Mission attempted to contact one of the bands of Isconahua. This band numbered more than twenty people. The missionaries moved them to lower Rio Calleria, but almost all of them died of epidemics. The Isconahua calls themselves "Nucuini" and are thought to be the descendants of the once large Remo tribe. Most of the villages are covered by the Isconahua Territorial Reserve. The area is currently under extensive occupation by loggers, drug-traffickers and mining workers.
- Isolados do Rio Calleria e Rio Maquia
- Locally known as Kapanawa. Speaks a Panoan language. The villages are covered by the Sierra del Divisor Reserved Zone and border the Isconahua Territorial Reserve (to the SE).
- Yora, and other tribes
- The Peru-Brazil border region along the Peruvian states of Madre de Dios & Ucayali, with the Brazilian state of Acre is home to a number of isolated bands. The region is bound by Rio Yurua to the north and Rio Purus to the south. The Indians call themselves the "Yora". Language is Panoan. During the 19th century, more than 100 different Panoan tribes lives between R.Yurua and R.Purus. The Yora are believed to be their remnants.
- Murunahua and the Chitonahua
- Found between Alto Rio Yurua and Rio Envira, along the Peru-Brazil border. Both tribes are under extreme harassment from the loggers, and a large part have been forcibly contacted and resettled near missionary outposts. Murunahua Territorial Reserve was established in 1997, but was soon overrun by the loggers.
- Live along the Rio Purus and Rio Curanja basins. In 2006, one member was contacted by the Christian Pioneer Mission and taken to the Puerto Paz village. This was followed by a small number of other Mastanahua. However the remaining uncontacted Indians have recently engaged in violent conflicts with the villagers of Puerto Paz.
- Uncontacted bands are found along Rio Pisqui, Rio Aguaytia, Rio San Alejandro, Rio Sungoroyacu and Rio Pozuzo in the Loreto, Ucayali and Huanuco provinces. Contacted Kakataibo have clashed with the uncontacted Indians, and have found their language difficult to understand. The government has refused to establish territorial reserves for the uncontacted Kakataibo. Currently the region is under invasion by loggers, petroleum explorers and coca farmers. A tuberculosis epidemic is also reported in the area.
- Isolated groups along Peru-Ecuador border
- Reported from Rio Napo, Rio Aushiri, Rio Nashino, Rio Curaray, Rio Arabela,
Rio Tangarana and Rio Pucacuro, in north Loreto province. It is believed that most of the bands are related to Zaparo and Huaorani. Presence of two Huaorani bands (Feromenami and Tagaeri) has been confirmed. Pananujuri, a Zaparoan group (related to Arabela?) is found near Rio Aleman. A decade ago, two groups tried to establish contact with the Pananujuri. The first one was a Russian anthropological group, which was some-what successful, and the second was the Christian missionary organisation Summer Institute of Linguistics (unsuccessful). The SIL alleged that the Russians gained unlawful entry in to the uncontacted territory, although no negative consequences were reported.
- Isolated groups along Peru-Ecuador border
- Reported from Alto Rio Tambopata and Rio Malinowski. Threats against the uncontacted were insignificant.
- Isolados do Rio Manu
- Probably Panoan. A part of the territory is unprotected.
- Isolados do Alto Rio Yaco
- Known as "Masko". Frequent cross-border movement to Terra Indigena Mamoadate in Brazil. Most probably related to Yora. Language not intelligible to the Yaminahua of Mamoadate.
|Akulio||50||Watershed between Suriname and Brazil. Between the sources of the Itani and the Jari||
As of 2013, probably no uncontacted ethnic groups exists in Suriname.
There are three uncontacted tribes living in Venezuela. They are Hoti, Yanomami, and Piaroa. The vast majority of the members of these tribes are already contacted and only a few live in isolation. Another isolated group, the Sape of Rio Karun became extinct during the 1990s.
- Located near Rio Kaima and the Sierra de Maigualida region. Most of the contacted Hoti live in the missionary outposts of San Jose de Kayama and Cano Iguana. About 40% of the Hoti are nomadic, while the remaining 60% are stationed in various missionary outposts. Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez expelled the Christian missionary group New Tribes Mission from the Hoti lands in 2006, out of fear that NTM was engaged in imperialism and an American conspiracy to undermine his presidency.
- There are a total of 25,000 Yanomami, who live in approximately 250 villages. There are five bands of Yanomami which live in isolation (a few hundred individuals). These include Alto Rio Siapa (SE Amazonas), between Sierra Parima and the Cerro Delgado Chalbaud (Amazonas), between Alto Rio Ocamo and the Rio Mutucini (Amazonas), Alto Rio Caura (Bolivar), and Alto Rio Paragua (Bolivar).
- Small isolated bands of Piaroa are located near Alto Rio Cuao and Rio Parhuaza. These bands are locally known as comunidades de tierra adentro. The regions where they live are extremely difficult to access.
- Indigenous peoples
- Indigenous peoples of the Americas
- Indigenous peoples in Brazil
- List of contemporary ethnic groups
- Noble savage
- Stateless society
- State of nature
- Terra nullius
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