"Uncontacted" Amazon tribe has actually been known from decades

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Washington, June 20 : Past and current Brazilian government officials have said that the uncontacted" Amazon tribe recently photographed by a plane, has actually been known from decades, and monitored from a distance.

The existence of this isolated group was known to government officials from a long time, according to a report in National Geographic News.

"The tribe, whose name remains unknown, was first discovered by outsiders around 1910," said to Jose Carlos Meirelles, an official with Brazil's Indian-protection agency (FUNAI).

Meirelles has released the photos of the tribe firing arrows at a plane through the indigenous-rights advocacy group Survival International on May 29 this year.

According to Meirelles, he made the photos public to prove the group exists.

Activist and former FUNAI president Sydney Possuelo agreed that amid development and doubt over the existence of such tribes, it was necessary to publish them.

In 1988, FUNAI surveyed the tribe's region from the air, and Brazilian government scouts have carried out ground expeditions near the edges of the group's territory to demarcate their lands.

Since 1989, Brazil has operated "protection post" on the region's Envira River.

"There, six state officials keep a careful, protective, and appropriately distant watch, patrolling daily to keep developers from encroaching on the land," said Meirelles.

"To protect these people-after years of doing expeditions on the ground, we managed to determine the territory of these Indians and to demarcate two indigenous territories. And a third is due to be demarcated this year," he added.

A few things are known about the mysterious people.

They have shaved foreheads but long hair. They plant cotton, or perhaps find it growing in the jungle, and spin it into cloth for skirts.

For the men, the women make cotton belts and headbands. They also make hammocks that are strung below huts covered by thick, thatched-palm roofs.

"They are agriculturalists," said Meirelles. "They have big fields, and they grow cassava, maize, almonds, pumpkin, and various types of potato, papaw, yams, and banana," he added.

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