09:17 GMT +317 November 2018
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    An indigenous man from the Pataxo tribe attends a protest of indigenous people at the entrance of the Planalto Palace in Brasilia

    Miners Who Boasted About Massacring Amazon Tribe Now Under Investigation

    © REUTERS / Ueslei Marcelino
    Latin America
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    According to Survival International, a London-based organization that advocates for indigenous rights, at least ten members of an uncontacted tribe in Brazil’s Amazon Basin were supposedly killed last month by illegal gold miners along the River Jandiatuba in western Brazil.

    Brazilian authorities have started an investigation of the gold miners after they were overheard bragging about the slaughter of the members at a bar in a nearby town. 

    Someone recorded the bar talk and Funai, the National Indian Foundation in Brazil, filed a complaint with the prosecutor's office in the state of the Amazonas.

    "It was crude bar talk," a spokesperson for Funai told the New York Times. "They even bragged about cutting up the bodies and throwing them in the river."

    A Funai official, Gustavo Souza, who heard the recording, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation that the murderers also boasted about shooting women and children on the riverbank.

    In an interview with ‘As It Happens' with Host Carol Off on CBC Radio, Jonathan Mazower, the media director for Survival International, provides more details on what the gold miners were doing in the area in the first place.

    "These Amazonian tributaries do contain gold and are now suffering from a real invasion of gold prospectors. The price of gold is so high it really makes it worth their while to get to these remote areas. And, of course, that brings them into contact and conflict with the Indigenous people who live there," Mazower said.

    When asked about the details of the recordings, Mazower said, "Here are various pretty grisly details that are being reported of the bodies being mutilated and so on, but it's just really impossible to confirm. But it does appear that there has been some kind of pretty horrible attack."

    What is especially disturbing is that had the miners not been bragging about their horrific crimes, it might not have even been known that the tribe members were killed. According to Mazower, not knowing who inflicted the horrible acts is unfortunately common.

    "Another uncontacted group [we're] campaigning on behalf of, the Kawahiva tribe, who live in a neighboring part of the Amazon — many of them have been killed by invaders in recent decades — but the precise details of when and who carried out those attacks is simply not known because these areas are too remote and they're not being monitored and protected properly by the authorities," Mazower said.


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    violence, genocide, tribe, Amazon
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