The last member of an indigenous tribe living in the forests of the state of Rondonia, in northwestern Brazil, on the border with Bolivia, was found dead. Very little was known about the man, as well as about what had been his tribe: he was known as “the indigenous of the pitBecause of the large pits he dug into the ground and had no contact with the outside world for about 26 years. However, his activities were followed with discretion by the Fundación Nacional del Indígena (FUNAI), the Brazilian government organization that deals with the protection of indigenous peoples, which announced his death over the weekend.
The man’s body, whose name no one knows, was found on August 23 in a hammock that had been built outside one of the huts he lived in. The Brazilian authorities said that there were no signs of violence on the body and that no elements were found in the area that suggest the presence of other people or possible signs of a struggle.
It is believed that he was in his 60s and died of natural causes. However, an autopsy will be carried out on his body.
As noted by the NGO Survival International, committed to protecting the rights of indigenous peoples globally, man lived in the Tanaru indigenous territory, an area of about 80 thousand square meters surrounded by many livestock farms and one of the most violent areas in Brazil. Most of the members of his tribe are believed to have been killed since the 1970s by ranchers who wanted to expand their territories, and it appears that the last six were killed in 1995.
Since then, man had lived isolated from the rest of the world: FUNAI, however, kept his movements under control by observing the shelters he built with straw and reeds and the holes, which in all probability he dug to try to trap animals or to hide. According to evidence gathered near his huts, he ate fruits such as papaya and bananas and grew corn and cassava (a large tuberous plant typical of Latin America from which tapioca, a type of starch is made).
In 2018, FUNAI members managed to film him hitting a tree with what looked like a rudimentary ax. He hadn’t been seen since.
There are currently about 240 indigenous tribes in Brazil, and at least 77 live in total isolation in the forests. Survival International recalled that the Tanaru territory is one of the seven protected areas in Brazil where tribes that have not yet come into contact with the outside world live and where logging and mining are prohibited, among other things. The ng Report however, that many of these tribes are threatened precisely by illegal mining activities and by ranchers and farmers who would like to expand their territories.
– Read also: The most isolated tribe in the world