CIMI (Conselho Indigenista Missionário) say that members of the neighboring Guajajara tribe, which also inhabits the area, have said that they came across the burned remains of an Awá child in the forest, following an attack by loggers.
Guajajara sometimes sees the Awá in the forest whilst hunting, but have not seen them since the alleged attack and believe that they have fled.
Luis Carlos Guajajaras told Brazil’s Terra website:
“She was from another tribe, they live deep in the jungle, and have no contact with the outside world. It would have been the first time she had ever seen white men. We heard that they laughed as they burned her to death.”
The incident was in October or November but CIMI have only just learned of it.
The Awá’s land is in Maranhão state in the eastern Amazon.
Although Awá lands have been legally recognized, the Indians are being targeted by loggers, who are bulldozing roads into the forests, and by settlers, who hunt the game the Awá rely on, exposing them to disease and violence. More than a third of their land is believed to have been invaded.
In September an Awá man was reportedly nearly decapitated by loggers. Loggers have also ransacked CIMI offices.
In 2010 a small group emerged from the forest after a local mayor denied that they existed.
Brazil has made substantial progress on curbing deforestation. The rate for 2011 was 78% down on 2004. But that still covers an area the size of Delaware.
Video from Survival International about the Awá.
Picture by leoffreitas