The Awá are a small tribe whose territory has been invaded by a vast army of illegal loggers, ranchers and settlers. The situation is now so critical that several Brazilian experts have spoken of a ‘genocide’ and ‘extinction.’
There are around 360 contacted Awá. Many are the survivors of brutal massacres. It is believed that 20-25% more are hiding in the rapidly-shrinking forest, desperately seeking a refuge from the constant destruction.
The campaign aims to persuade Brazil’s Justice Minister to send in federal police to clear out the loggers, ranchers and settlers, and keep them out.
“The Awá’s forest is being illegally cut for timber. When the loggers see them, they kill them. Their bows and arrows are no match for guns. And at any other time in history, that’s where it would end. Another people wiped off the face of the earth, forever. But we’re going to make sure the world doesn’t let that happen…”
Last year I reported on how a Brazilian NGO had alleged that Amazonian loggers had ‘burned alive’ a child from uncontacted members of the Awá.
Watch an amazing short film, featuring an appeal by Colin Firth and music by Grammy-winning composer Heitor Pereira. It features unique footage of the Awá, who rarely allow outsiders in to their communities, showing their extraordinarily close relationship to their pets, the moonlit ritual in which the Awá talk to their ancestors’ spirits and the devastating destruction caused by loggers and ranchers, who set whole hillsides alight.
Find out more about the campaign which Firth is heading here.
Photo credit: courtesy of Survival International