Members of a previously isolated tribe from the border area between Peru and Brazil had their first contact with modern society on June 26 in the Brazilian state of Acre.
According to Yahoo News, several young male members of the tribe voluntarily came out of isolation and contacted a nearby Ashaninka group.
The group reported having been violently attacked by non-Indian people in Perú, where they live. Yahoo reports that their attackers may have been illegal loggers or drug traffickers.
Speaking to an interpreter, the tribe members said that “The majority of old people were massacred by non-Indians in Peru, who shot at them with firearms and set fire to the houses of the uncontacted.”
“They say that many old people died, and that they buried three people in one grave. They say that so many people died that they couldn’t bury them all and their corpses were eaten by vultures.”
The CBC reports that the tribe speaks a language that’s part of the Panoan linguistic group.
Stephen Corry, director of indigenous rights group Survival International, said “This news could hardly be more worrying – not only have these people confirmed they suffered violent attacks from outsiders in Peru, but they have apparently already caught flu.”
“The nightmare scenario is that they return to their former villages carrying flu with them,” added Corry. “It’s a real test of Brazil’s ability to protect these vulnerable groups. Unless a proper and sustained medical program is immediately put in place, the result could be a humanitarian catastrophe.”
Fiona Watson, a researcher with Survival International, added “There is an urgent priority to get trained specialist health teams able to go in immediately when any uncontacted appear, and for far greater monitoring of and protection of the territories of uncontacted tribes from invasions.”
Several members of the tribe were treated for flu, a disease to which some isolated groups have little to no immunity. They were treated at a government medical facility and later returned to their villages.
Warning: Video contains semi-nudity.