Portrait of Jarawa tribe boys, one of the five tribes in India’s Andaman and Nicobar archipelago. (AP Photo/Anthropological Survey of India, HO)
AS the modern world spends its time fussing about the latest iPhone, in the remote jungles there are people who have never seen a phone.
They’ve never seen a car, computer or television either.
Most of them haven’t even seen a white person.
They are the uncontracted tribes — communities that have had no contact with the outside world.
Many live not far from Australia in jungles of West Papua. There are also many who call the South American Amazon home.
A group of isolated Amazonian Indians getting in contact for the first time with Ashaninka natives on the banks of the Envira River, Acre state, Brazil, in the border with Peru. AFP PHOTO
Recently one such tribe made contact with the outside world in an attempt to seek weapons for their battle with illegal loggers and drug runners.
Footage shows the indigenous people from the Panoan linguistic group making contact with the Ashaninka native people of northern Brazil along the banks of the Envira River, near the Peruvian border.
They are among more than 100 uncontracted tribes that still exist.
Many other tribes are either extinct or have become part of the wider world.
A Pintupi aboriginal man standing near Royal Geographical Society University of Melbourne Bindibu Expedition truck of Donald Thomson as seen in exhibition "Colliding worlds: First contact in the Western Desert, 1930-1984".
Pintupi nine Australia
They were the last Aborigines living a traditional nomadic existence. In 1984 the Pintupi Nine made contact with the outside world for the first time. They thought the white man they first saw were the devil. The tribe were born in the desert and roamed waterholes near Lake Mackay in Central Australia, naked except for human-hair belts. They were armed with 2m spears and intricately carved boomerangs. The tribe lived on a diet of goanna and rabbit. The group all became artists, with some of their paintings hanging at the National Gallery in Canberra.
BBC documentary First Contact
There are believed to be about 44 uncontracted tribes in the Indonesian province of West Papua. They choose to remain separate from the outside world. Stephen Corry the director of a 2007 BBC documentary about one of the tribes, said tribes choose to shun the outside world because of the threat of disease. He said there were also other dangers. “They face mining companies, loggers, colonists, and the armed forces, which have killed around 100,000 Papuans as Indonesia continues its violent occupation,” he said.
Portrait of a Jarawa tribe boy, one of the five tribes in India's Andaman and Nicobar archipelago. (AP Photo/Anthropological Survey of India, HO)
The Sentinelese are among the most remote on earth. The tribes, live on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands are a remote cluster of islands about 1200km off India’s east coast. Only about three dozen of the islands are inhabited, including six tribes of Mongoloid and Negrito origin, who have lived there for thousands of years. The tribes live the most ancient, nomadic lifestyle known to man. They make fire by rubbing stones together, fish and hunt with bow and arrow and live in leaf and straw community huts. There were fears the tribes may have been wiped out in the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami, but they survived.
There are thought to be more than 60 uncontracted tribes in Brazil. Threats to them include cattle ranchers and disease. Brazil’s uncontracted tribes include a man who is the sole survivor of his tribe. He builds holes to catch animals in and is always on the run fearful of the outside world.
An uncontacted Amazon tribe
There are thought to be more than a dozen uncontracted tribes in Peru. Reserves have been set up to protect the rights of tribes. The website uncontactedtribes.org says disease is a big threat to the tribes. It says that more than 50 per cent of one previously unconctaced tribe the Nahua were wiped out by disease following oil exploration on their land. The Murunahua people had a large number of their people wiped by disease following logging in their area.
Other South American countries
There are believed to be at least five uncontracted tribes in Bolivia. Tribes also exist in Ecuador, French Guiana, Paraguay and Venezuela.