Federal prosecutors in Brazil are currently investigating reports of a massacre of ten members of an uncontacted tribe by gold miners.
The mass murder of the tribe members, who lived in a remote part of the Amazon Rainforest, is believed to have occurred last month in the Javari Valley.
The Brazilian indigenous affairs agency, Funai, contacted the Amazonas prosecutor’s office after a group of gold miners bragged the massacre in a bar, right near the Colombian border.
The gold miners allegedly showed off a hand-carved paddle which they claimed to have stolen from the tribe.
Speaking with The New York Times, Funai’s coordinator for uncontacted and recently contacted tribes, Leila Silvia Burger Sotto-Maior detailed the miners’ claim:
It was crude bar talk,
They even bragged about cutting up the bodies and throwing them in the river.
Also speaking with The New York Times, prosecutor Pablo Luz de Beltrand was able to confirm an investigation is under way, however finding out information will be difficult:
We are following up, but the territories are big and access is limited,
These tribes are uncontacted — even Funai has only sporadic information about them. So it’s difficult work that requires all government departments working together.
Funding for indigenous affairs has been severely cut under the current president, Michel Temer.
As a result, Funai has been forced to shut down five out of their nineteen bases used to protect remote tribes from invasion and persecution.
This new investigation has sparked new fears about the welfare of remote indigenous people in Brazil.
Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.