Skip to comments.And Then There Was One
Posted on 01/15/2008 8:57:33 AM PST by forkinsocket
THe Rumor Was A Wild One, and it seized Marcelo dos Santos with the power of a primary myth.
There's an Indian living in the woods around here, some local ranch hands were saying in 1996. He wears no clothes. Get near him, and he vanishes. He is utterly alone.
Marcelo knew a lot about elusive Indians -- more than just about anyone. He was a sertanista, a uniquely Brazilian profession that is part jungle explorer, part ethnologist and part bureaucrat. As a member of Funai -- the Brazilian government agency charged with protecting indigenous interests and cultures -- Marcelo's specialty was "uncontacted" Indians, those tribes that remain isolated from modern man. His territory was Rondonia, a heavily forested area that had been largely undeveloped before the government declared it a state and opened it to agriculture in the early 1980s. After that, loggers and ranchers began streaming in, and Marcelo blamed them for the denuded pastureland that was eating into the forest from all sides.
Just a few months earlier, Marcelo and his tracking partner Altair Algayer had made first contact with an isolated tribe of Kanoe Indians that had been reduced to five survivors. Shortly after that, they found another tribe, the Akuntsu, with only six members living several miles from the Kanoe. They'd gotten the land for those tribes declared off-limits to development. And for that, the loggers and ranchers who wanted a piece of that land for themselves viewed Marcelo and Altair just as suspiciously as those two viewed the loggers and ranchers.
But this rumor, of a single Indian on his own in the jungle, was too compelling to ignore, even if it meant spending time among the kind of people that Funai explorers generally tried to avoid.
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...
A single Amazon Indian with no family and no contact with the outside world, who lives as a hunter-gatherer, has been made one of the largest landowners in Brazil by government fiat.
What a bizarre story.
Interesting too that in 1980 the Amazon was 3% de-forested and efforts began to stop it, and now, despite all sorts of oratory and pontificating by the likes of Sting, it’s 20% deforested.
Sort of like Helen Thomas.
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As a rugged individualist, I have a bit of envy to this man's self-sufficiency, yet I don't know how he copes with the solitude. Can't imagine not having my husband and family. Having no knowledge of today's world is a real blessing though.
The difference between 3% and 20% when talking about the Amazon Rainforest (in acres) is over 240 million acres. FYI.
That's a bit of a reach to 'politicize' this very compelling story. He doesn't have title to the land. He doesn't have any conveyable interest in it either.
He's been given, at most, an undisturbed right to use the land, for an indefinite period of time, which right can be withdrawn by the government just as it was granted by the government.
Because the story wasn't completely politicized to begin with.
Wow, really long article, but fascinating... Amazing that people can still exist that are essentially cut off from the modern world.
Point out 3 specific "politicizations" -- no, two - give me even one big one.
Unless you read politics into EVERYTHING. You must be a real barrel of laughs.
Yes, being an avid archer, I am familiar with Ishi and his story. I had not read the Wiki entry before so I appreciate the link.