22 June 2008

Story Behind 'Lost Tribe' Photos Revealed

30 May we ran a story that was making the rounds "Isolated Indigenous Tribe Alive & Well In Brazil". As it turns out the photos of the "lost tribe" are real, but the story behind them is not.

The original story was that some guys stumbled upon the tribe while flying over the Amazon when in fact that whole thing was staged by the Brazilian Indian Protection Agency.

The agency knew the whereabouts of the tribe, flew over them to take pictures and then published the photos to bolster a campaign to protect endangered tribes in the area from the logging industry.

The existence of the tribe had actually been known for about a century. The Brazilian Indian Protection Agency learned about this small group of Indians about 20 years ago.

Though many are likely to criticize the agency for the flyover – clearly disturbing the tribe – they all defend their decision to take the photos and publish them, claiming the media coverage over the photos last month forced Peru to re-examine its logging policy near where the tribe lives.

Jose Carlos Meirelles from the Brazilian Indian Protection Agency said, "When I saw them painted red, I was satisfied, I was happy because painted red means they are ready for war, which to me says they are happy and healthy defending their territory."

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