With their bright red painted skin, partially shaven heads, and arrows drawn back in longbows, the Amerindians of the Brazilian-Peruvian frontier make for a menacing sight.
The aerial photograph in question was taken recently in an overflight conducted by anthropologists to document their existence. Thought never to have had any contact with the outside world, everything about these people is a mystery.
“We wanted to get a photographic record of their houses, to show they are there, to show they exist,” said Brazilian uncontacted tribes expert José Carlos Meirelles. “This is very important because there are some who doubt their existence.”
Behind the two men stands another figure, possibly a woman, her stance appearing just as defiant as the men. With her skin painted dark, nearly black, she cuts an imposing figure.
The apparent aggression shown by these people towards the low-flying aircraft is understandable. As members of one of Earth’s last uncontacted tribes, their experience of civilization and it’s attendant technology must be a fearsome prospect.
As science fiction author and futurist Arthur C. Clarke once famously remarked, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
“Of course, we know very little of their customs and beliefs,” said Meirelles. “But it’s probably a valid assumption that contact with modern civilization would be met with hostility.”
Their extraordinary body paint, precisely what they eat, how they construct their tent-like camp, their language, and how their society operates are all a matter of conjecture at this point.
But there are a few things that we do know…