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 Post subject: Amazon: out of time
PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2005 5:39 pm 
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Out of Time

Less than a decade after their first contact with the outside world, the volatile Korubo of the Amazon still live in almost total isolation. Their fiercest champion, Indian tracker Sydney Possuelo, is trying to keep their world intact. But how long can he, and they, hold out?

Deep in the Amazon jungle, I stumble along a sodden track carved through steamy undergrowth, frequently sinking to my knees in the mud. Leading the way is a busy-bearded, fiery-eyed Brazilian, Sydney Possuelo, South America's leading expert on remote Indians tribes and the last of the continent's great explorers. Our destination: the village of a fierce tribe not far removed from the Stone Age. We're in the Javari Valley, one of the Amazon's "exclusion zones"—huge tracts of virgin jungle set aside over the past decade by the government of Brazil for indigenous Indians and off limits to outsiders. The group we've come to visit are known as the Korubo, but I'm thinking of another of their nicknames, the "head bashers."

Possuelo, the head of Brazil's Department for Isolated Indians, first contacted the Korubo in 1996. "I wanted to leave them alone," he says, "but loggers and fishermen had located them and were trying to wipe them out. So I stepped in to protect them." Our trip is one of his regular check-in visits, to see how they're faring; for me it's a chance to be one of the few journalists ever to spend several days with this group of people who know nothing about bricks, or electricity, or roads or violins or penicillin or Cervantes or tap water or China or almost anything else you can think of.
Original Article by the Smithonian Magazine
Read the full article from the Smithonian Magazine [PDF] (Mirror)


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