A Call to Action: The Pleas of a Tribe on the Verge of Extinction

The Awá, a small tribe with just over 300 members, is being threated. The group lives in Brazil, where logging companies have sought to take advantage of the rainforest for some time now. Recently, however, more serious accusations are being leveled against these companies. Some say that the loggers have opened fire on the tribe, many of whom have never spoken to anyone outside of their group. Survival International is working to halt the injustice.

The law of Brazil prohibits logging companies from cutting down the trees in the Amazon. Although, it is difficult to enforce because of the number of companies involved and the fact that the loggers themselves are often armed. While the impact that these companies are having on the rainforest is obviously detrimental, the harm they are inflicting goes much further than that. The loggers are taking over the Awá’s land, often by force, and killing anyone who gets in their way. Without intervention, the entire tribe may soon be extinct.

Bringing Attention To The Situation

A new video (also above) is being released by Survival International in an attempt to draw attention to this situation and plead with the Brazilian government to take a stand. Within the last 30 years, a significant portion of the rainforest where the Awá reside has been cut down. Unlike the rest of us, the tribe can’t just move down the street to, say, a Nassau County apartment. The tribe depends on the forest for its survival, and it fears that the damage to the Amazon will be its undoing.

However, fears for the Awá go well beyond just the threat to their environment. There have been reports of massacres, violence aimed at children, and more. The Awá are a peaceful people, who live in harmony with the world around them and try to care for plants and animals alike. While they are not the only indigenous tribe in danger, their situation is particularly compelling due to the combined threat the loggers pose to both the forest and those that live there.

The Brazilian embassy has not released an official statement regarding this situation. Brazil has previously noted, however, that its efforts are paying off with respect to illegal logging. The amount of rainforest that was cut down in 2011 was significantly less than what was destroyed in 2004. Is its progress enough, though? No other tribe in the Amazon is experiencing the same type of loss as the Awá. More must be done to help them, and it needs to happen soon. If not, the tribe will be lost forever.

Planetsave Home Page Image Credit: screenshot of video above

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