By Dom Phillips
19 July 2018

Rio de Janeiro (The Guardian) – Remarkable footage has been released of an uncontacted indigenous man who has lived alone in an Amazon forest for at least 22 years.

Semi-naked and swinging an axe vigorously as he fells a tree, the man, believed to be in his 50s, has never been filmed so clearly before and appears to be in excellent health.

“He is very well, hunting, maintaining some plantations of papaya, corn,” said Altair Algayer, a regional coordinator for the Brazilian government indigenous agency FUNAI in the Amazon state of Rondônia, who was with the team who filmed the footage from a distance. “He has good health and a good physical shape doing all those exercises.”

Known as the “indigenous man in the hole”, he is believed to be the only survivor from an isolated tribe. He hunts forest pigs, birds and monkeys with a bow and arrow and traps prey in hidden holes filled with sharpened staves of wood. He and his group were known for digging holes and his hammock is strung over one in his house.

Loggers, farmers and land grabbers murdered and expelled indigenous populations in the area in the 1970s and 1980s, and the man is believed to be the only survivor of a group of six killed during an attack by farmers in 1995. He was first located in 1996 and has been monitored by FUNAI ever since. A glimpse of his face filmed in 1998 was shown in the Brazilian documentary, Corumbiara, They Shoot Indians, Don't They? […]

The Brazilian government agency FUNAI has released footage of an isolated indigenous man they have been monitoring for 22 years. Known as the ‘man of the hole’, he has become famous in recent decades for his persistence in avoiding contact and continuing his life in the forest.  He is believed to be the only survivor of an isolated community that lived in this indigenous territory in the Amazon state of Rondônia. The community was subject of the 2009 documentary, Corumbiara. Photo: FUNAI

Fiona Watson, the research and advocacy director of Survival International, a non-profit group that works to protect indigenous peoples, described the footage as “extraordinary” given that the 8,070 hectares of protected forest the man lives in is completely surrounded by ranches and farms.

“FUNAI has a duty to show that he is well and alive,” she said. “The crucial thing is FUNAI has managed to keep his territory.”

Survivors of other indigenous groups in the region have described how farmers shot at their backs when they fled raids on their villages, Watson said. In 2005, she joined a FUNAI mission to the reserve and saw the holes the man had dug around his territory, his house and his plantations, though she did not see him.

“The fact he is still alive gives you hope,” she said. “He is the ultimate symbol, if you like.” [more]

Footage of sole survivor of Amazon tribe emerges

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