All over the world, peoples that chose to keep their ancient ways of living  struggle to resist modernization. Tribes of the Amazonian jungle, recently discovered or facing total annihilation, mysterious tribes of India, which refuse all contact, or ancient peoples of Philippines that starve to death in their forests as a result of a faulty governmental policy, they all show us that humans did not change whatsoever from the colonial times. Instead of carefully protecting these communities, we slaughter them, we try to steal their lands, and we struggle to Christianize them, a sure way to acquaintance these poor people with our diseases. We learnt nothing in the past 500 years…

1.The man in the hole

uncontacted survivor of a tribe

The last survivor of an unknown tribe lives alone in a small area of the Amazonian forest. No one knows the name of his tribe, or what happened to it. Anthropologists have been trying to contact him in the past 15 years, but he rejected them. Trying to protect him, authorities established an area of 31 square miles of exclusion zone, where no one is allowed. However, illegal trespassing is not uncommon. In 2009, some unknown gunmen tried to shoot him. Fortunately, reports suggest that they did not succeed.

2.The Sentinelese people, India

santinelese people

The sentinelese people are called by media ‘the most isolated in the world’. They inhabit a small island, Santinel island’ and their number is unknown. They seem to have inhabited these lands for 60.000 years. In 2004, when an apocalyptic tsunami devastated the coasts of the Indian Ocean, it seemed impossible that the Sentinelese group had survived, since they were right in the middle of the devastated area. A helicopter was sent to offer help, but a Sentinelese man suddenly appeared on the beach and started to throw arrows at the helicopter. Hence, it seemed that they were ok.

3. Indians of the Pardo River, Brazil-Peruvian border

unconctated indians

An unknown tribe, apparently one of the 5 in the Brazil-Peruvian area, was photographed in 2008 when an encounter took place accidentally. At that time, the helicopter which passed over their site several times took unclear pictures of men painted in war colors. They seemed prepared to defend their women and children against the intruders. In January 31 this year, this group was spotted again. The picture above was taken with this occasion.

4. The Awá

awa girl

The Awá (Guajá) are an endangered people living in the eastern Amazon jungle, in Brazil. Although they came in contact with civilization, they refused to adapt to the world outside their territory and kept their ancient style of living, as gatherers and hunters. The Brazil government received an important loan from the World Bank and the European Union, on the condition that they would protect  territories of some of the uncontacted peoples living in Brazilia. Among them, the awá needed help the most. The forests which sheltered them were devastated and the land as abusively used for farming.  While the Brazilian government needed 20 years to react and delimitate their land, the number of awá individuals still preserving their style of living had reached 60.

5. The Ayoreo-Totobiegosode, Paraguay

ayoreo indians

The translation of this name would be ‘people of the place of wild pigs’. They live in the Chaco, an isolated and very unfriendly area covered with impenetrable forests from Paraguay, Bolivia and Argentina. They had encounters with the modern man as early as 1940, but their number seriously diminished due to being forced to come out of the forest or due to diseases brought by the invaders and for which , the Ayoreo had no antibodies. Today, the number of Ayoreo-Totobiegosode individuals who are still living a nomadic life in the jungle is unknown.

6. The Zoe’é, Brazil

zo'e indians

The Zo’é is a small tribe of 256 members, located in the North of Brazil. This peaceful community lives by growing eatable plants and hunting. Both man and women are polygamous in the Zo’é community and there is no hierarchy or any type of division.  They are all equal.  Another interesting feature is the wooden plug that decorates their lower lip, as shown in the picture. It is compulsory for all the members of the tribe since as early as 9 years old. It was only in the 1987 that they first came in contact with outsiders, in the person of the missioners from the New Tribes Missions. Subsequently to this encounter, most of the Zo’é people perished. Authorities have stopped all encounters between the members of the tribe and the white man, in order to protect the lives of the remaining population.

7. The Jarawa, India

jarawa of andaman islands

They are the sentinelese’s ‘cousins’, living on one of the Andamanese Islands. Their number is of not more than 350 individuals. They resisted all contact until 1997 when they first got out of their forests and visited a local community. They soon after got sick with measles. Today the Jarawas became a sort of touristic attraction. Despite governmental regulations which forbid such contacts, some companies daily take several hundreds of tourists to view the Jarawas and take pictures of them.

8. The Nukak-Mahu, Colombia

nukak mahu

The Nukak- Maku people is another small tribe in the Amazonian forest. The community’s population is of 420 individuals. First regular contact they had with the civilized world started in 1988. Since then, 50% of them died. The Nukak live in small communities of 30 persons or less and they are nomads, never remaining more than few days in the same place. The men are hunters using blowguns with darts to kill prey. The darts are tipped with a poison named curare, made of 5 different species of plants. Their shelters consist of hammocks with roofs above,  made of palm –leaves.

9. The Akuntsu, Brazil

akuntsu tribe

This indigenous tribe from Rodônia, Brazil is facing extinction. There are only 5 of them still alive. The authorities try their best to keep these reminiscents of an old culture alive, after having denied their existence for years. The Akuntsu were massively killed by the ranchers  20  years ago when the tribe had not been yet officially contacted. Apparently, loggers and ranchers tried to extermine this small tribe knowing that after being contacted, their lands would have entered the protection program. The remaining survivors were discovered in 1995 by a research expedition, who believed in their existence.  This isolated community of 5 (2 men and 3 women) will most probably disappear from the surface of Earth in the years to come.

10. The Batak, Philippines

batak people

In Philippines lives an ancient, very small tribe. The Bataks were among the first inhabitants of Philippines. They established here some 50.000 years ago. However, today their lands are taken away from them, the diseases brought by the outsiders killed many members of the community and governmental lows forbid their traditional ways of farming.  The government finally lifted the ban when a society fighting for the rights of the tribes (Survival International) started a campaign which demonstrated the effects of these regulations on the isolated little tribe. However, with a population of only 300, and so many dangers, the Batak have little chances of staying alive.

photo credits :

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