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Photos captured of elusive indigenous tribe -

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ELEANOR HALL: Somewhere on the border between Brazil and Peru, a photographer aboard a chopper has
snapped one of South America's last indigenous tribes to shun contact with the outside world.

A group which advocates on behalf of indigenous tribes, Survival International, says the discovery
highlights the danger that encroaching civilisation poses to the Amazon.

An Australian-based linguist, Professor Alexandra Aikhenvald agrees and she has been speaking to
Karen Barlow.

ALEXANDRA AIKHENVALD: Well my reaction is excitement because it is always extremely interesting to
see new peoples being discovered. First excitement and then my other reaction is, is the
description is right ... is the less we know about these people.

We have no idea who they are, the better for them because unfortunately contact with white people
hasn't brought Indians much good so far.

KAREN BARLOW: Can it be really true that they have no contact with the outside world?

ALEXANDRA AIKHENVALD: Well, I strongly doubt it but well, you know, miracles happen. Basically the
history of Indians in South America and especially in Brazil and in those areas as well has always
been like Chinutas (phonetic) one and many of them had contact with white people at different times
in the past.

Basically in the 19th century and then during the rubber boom, and many of them just fled and what
may have happened with these groups is something similar, is maybe they are descendants of those
groups that fled from white supremacy maybe 100 or more years ago.

So they may not have any recollections of contact with white people or if they have any
recollections, they may not be really forthcoming to tell us, but in actual fact they're just
hiding or they have been in hiding for many, many years.

KAREN BARLOW: What do you imagine they would be making of the helicopter flying overhead trying to
take a photograph of them?

ALEXANDRA AIKHENVALD: Well, I think they would be extremely scared. I mean wouldn't you?

They would be scared and if they already had some experience with say, Fazendarros (phonetic) or
some explorer's helicopter flying on top of them, they may just leave because they may have this
idea that is some sort of gigantic bird that wants to engulf them all or that it is some sort of
invaders or anything like that.

So basically, if anyone might want to establish any contact with them, I don't think they should
fly helicopters. I think they should probably just approach them very carefully and proceed with
extreme caution and care.

KAREN BARLOW: What would life be like for the people of a tribe like this?

ALEXANDRA AIKHENVALD: Well, I lived with in an indigenous village for some time in northern Amazon
yes, and this is a little bit to the south but I think the living conditions probably similar.

Well, it is just subsistence agriculture and most of them do have certain amount of agriculture. It
is Sweden agriculture so you plant manioc and you plant your fields for a certain number of years
and then you abandon them and then you take up some other field, and sometimes you move your
village to the other field. Sometimes you stay in the same place for one generation and you hunt
and you fish as much as you can.

And of course nowadays, it is very difficult because the so-called civilisation is encroaching upon
the hunting grounds and people just don't have enough animals to hunt.

KAREN BARLOW: How much under threat are tribes like this?

ALEXANDRA AIKHENVALD: Oh, I think. Well, it depends on the area. The area documented in this recent
piece of news is pretty remote. It is central (inaudible). It is really difficult, but in principle
they are all under threat because of deforestation.

ELEANOR HALL: That's La Trobe University's Professor Alexandra Aikhenvald speaking to Karen Barlow.