Last Member of Brazilian Indigenous Tribe Found Dead

Sep 1, 2022

Thought Question: What are some of the traditions and customs of your culture that make it unique?

The only surviving member of a remote Amazon tribe has died. His culture and language may have been lost with him.

This man was called the “man of the hole.” He used to dig deep pits to trap food. He was the only known person living in the Tanaru Indigenous Territory. That's according to the government’s National Indian Foundation (FUNAI). Observers found his body on a routine check-in. They saw no signs of struggle or other people in the area. Still, some activists point to a history of destruction and habitat loss in the area. His tribe disappeared as a result of that. 

"This was indeed a genocide — the … wiping out of an entire people,” said a director at Survival International. 

Cattle ranching is a big industry in Brazil. It needs large areas of land to make money. The past 30 years have seen clashes between Indigenous peoples and ranchers. The disagreements happen as ranchers try to get more grazing space. FUNAI is supposed to protect the tribes when that happens. But groups like Human Rights Watch have accused Brazil's president of not giving much money to FUNAI. They also say he weakened protections for the environment. These actions, they argue, have made Indigenous tribes more vulnerable.    

About 305 tribes live in the Amazon rainforest. Many of them are isolated from each other and the rest of Brazil. Each has its own customs and traditions. 

Photo from Reuters.

Which of the following topics does the article highlight? (Common Core RI.5.3; RI.6.3)
a. conflicts between cattle ranchers and Indigenous people
b. the Brazilian president’s popularity
c. types of languages spoken by Indigenous people
d. the geography of Brazil
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