The lonely Brazilian indigenous man – the sole survivor of a massacre tribe – chose to live his life alone. In late August, he was found dead in a hammock covered in parrot feathers. Known as “the pit man” (Indio do BuracoIn Portuguese) because he dug deep pits inside his huts, he lived in the land of the Tanaro tribe, in the state of Rondônia (western Brazil). His partially decomposed body was discovered by Altair Algayer, a Brazilian government official who had been monitoring the solitary man for the past 26 years. It was the last tribe of unknown ethnicity who did not communicate with other groups. Brazilian officials believe he died of natural causes.
Ironically, he was known in Brazil precisely because he lived in seclusion for many years. The Brazilian National Indian Foundation (Fundação Nacional do Índio – FUNAI), the government agency responsible for protecting the country’s indigenous population, has moved his remains to the capital, Brasilia, for forensic analysis. The pit man lived on 50 square miles (80 square kilometers) of land surrounded by cattle ranches, protected by a specific law that prevented outsiders from intruding. He is believed to have been around 60 years old. The Brazilian authorities intend to bury him on the land where he lived his life.
For the past 26 years, Algayer has led the FUNAI team that has monitored the man from afar, maintaining the longstanding Brazilian policy of no contact with indigenous peoples who choose to avoid the outside world. Once every three months, the FUNAI team would approach and set up cameras to monitor their activity and see if anyone had invaded their protected land. This is how they know that he died in the hut 53 he had built since the watch began. FUNAI’s notice of his death said all of his huts “have the same layout and always with a pit inside.”
waiting for death
In an interview with Amazon Real“He was found in his hammock, covered in parrot feathers. He was waiting to die – there were no signs of violence,” said Marcelo dos Santos, a member of the FUNAI team that monitored the pit man.
There are not many pictures of the unknown man. Explained by video Released a few years ago. Almost completely naked, the man cuts down a tree unaware that he is being photographed from a distance. He never spoke to his mother-in-law, perhaps to avoid recognition of his mother tongue, but he accepted some seeds and tools that were left to him to find. Isolated Peoples of Brazil said these elements were left to “improve his quality of life”.
The isolated peoples of Brazil are the most vulnerable of the country’s 115 indigenous tribes, yet the most skilled at preserving the forest and biodiversity. The Javari Valley, on Brazil’s border with Colombia and Peru, is where most of these tribes are located. Last June, Bruno Pereira, an expert on isolated peoples, and British journalist Dom Phillips They were killed by fishermen In the Javari Valley. Brazilian institutions responsible for protecting the environment, indigenous peoples and biodiversity have become significantly weaker since the election of President Jair Bolsonaro nearly four years ago.
The pit man is the only known survivor of the 1995 massacre, when some greedy big landlords paid for more land for local settlers to exterminate the entire tribe and destroy all traces of their existence. He began a new life of near-total solitude, subsisting on wild boars, turtles and birds he hunted or hunted. The pit man liked honey, too.
Secluded Peoples said Pit Man “was the victim of a horrendous act of extermination caused by the government’s incursion into the big farms. He saw his people die and his land turned into pasture. He was condemned to spend the rest of his life in a small area of protected forest surrounded by the large plantations that dominate the Corumbiara River region in Rondonia”. Now that the pit man is gone, people fear that his small plot of land will soon be at the mercy of major agricultural interests.
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