Brazilian Tribe On Brink of Extinction

A Brazilian government agency says that it has as its top priority saving the Amazon Aw tribe — as Survival International says that a new government survey finds them outnumbered ten-to-one by invaders.

The survey estimates that there could be up to 4,500 ranchers, loggers and settlers now occupying just one of the four territories inhabited by the Aw, whose total population now stands at no more than 450, many living uncontacted in the remaining forest, many of them survivors of brutal massacres. Hired guns are known to have been paid $60 per Aw head by unscrupulous landowners and speculators in the past.

They live in the North East of Brazil, in the Maranhao State, at the heart of the Tiracambu sierra.

The government has been receiving tens of thousands of messages following a campaign launched last month by the actor Colin Firth — you can take action here.

The tribes land is being destroyed faster than that of any other Amazon tribe. As the rainy season ends, one of their main hunting areas is now being targeted by loggers. An Aw man named Armadillo told Survival International: “How will we live without the forest?”

The government agency for indigenous people (FUNAI) says that saving the Aw is its top priority but Brazilian Justice Minister Jose Eduardo Cardozo has yet to meet the campaign’s demand to send in federal police to clear out the invaders.

Said Survival International Director Stephen Corry:

Brazil is one of the world’s most important countries with one of its most dynamic economies, and it certainly has the resources to protect Awa land. Can it deliver?

If not, and the Aw are destroyed, then is this new ‘economic miracle’ just for the rich and powerful?

Related stories:

Colin Firth Pleads for Uncontacted Tribes Survival (Video)

Loggers Burn Child Alive in Amazon (Video)

New Pictures of Uncontacted Amazonian Tribe

Photo credit: courtesy of Survival International


Lorraine Andersen
Lorraine A4 months ago

Signed, these people need protection from big business!!

Kathleen G.
Kathleen G4 years ago

Signed,with hope for these threatened people. So tragic,so sad.

Sarah M.
Sarah M5 years ago


Redgie H.
Redgie H5 years ago

colleen p, don't be silly. We don't allow real women to be shown in the media.

Marianna B Molnar


Regina P.
Regina P5 years ago

So very sad

Jane R.
Jane R5 years ago

Leave these people and their land alone!!

Linda McKellar
Past Member 5 years ago

Good going Mr. Firth. Now if people will only listen!!!

Petra M.
Petra M5 years ago

Thats terrible !!! thanks for posting...

Brianna B.
Brianna B5 years ago

Thats terrible. Thanks for posting. I'm signing the petition.