The Awa-Guaja people,which have been living in the once dense and abundant rainforest of Brazil for hundreds of years,are now,like many other tribes from all over the world,threatened to disappear.If efforts to preserve the Amazon rainforest,or what’s left of it to be more precise,aren’t intensified,they will certainly vanish.
One of the most fascinating documentary series I’ve been watching over the past few weeks is ‘Tribal Journeys’,a 13-episode presentation of some of the world’s most isolated tribes which describes the efforts made by Belgian activist and film director Jean-Pierre Dutilleux to establish contact with these people and try to do
After a several-day trek into the Brazilian jungle,Jean-Pierre and his crew finally get in touch with a small group of Awa Guaja men.What’s really amazing about this encounter,which also represented the first time ever that the Awa Guaja people have been filmed,is the attitude of the Indians towards the strangers they meet in the forest.Although a little hesitant at the beginning,they soon realize that they have nothing to fear and behave friendly and naturally in front of the cameras.Thus we have the opportunity to discover their simple ancestral way of life,which is based entirely on what nature has to provide for them.Like their forefathers,they roam through the jungle fully naked,and their main occupations are hunting,fishing and gathering fruit.Once the resources are over,they simply move on to another place and continue to enjoy their simple life in the middle of the nature.
One thing which truly impressed me about these people was their kindness and innocence;unlike other tribes,which used to be headhunters and warriors,the Awa Guaja are extremely peaceful and friendly.Unfortunately,little has been done so far to protect their land,on the contrary,the continuous deforestation of the rainforest and even the merciless killings of Indians by ruthless settlers had disastrous consequences for these gentle people,so it appears that there are still only a few hundred Awa Guaja peoplewho still live their traditional nomadic lifestyle,hiding from the civilized world in the remnants of the Maranhao rainforest.
What’s going to happen to these fewer and fewer representatives of an authentic native world?Unfortunately,if the destruction of the Amazon rainforest continues at this alarming rate,they will have no place to hide;maybe some of them will be adopted by society and try o fit in,but I guess many of them will be killed by those lawless murderers which hunted so many natives in their mad quest for profit at any cost.They will disappear along with thousands of unique species of plants and animals which can only be found in that part of the world.
Of course,as long as there are still people and organizations willing to fight for these people,there’s still a hope that they might survive and preserve their tribal lifestyle.According to Survival International,the Awa-Guara are considered the most threatened tribe on our planet,and it’s obvious that there is nothing they can do to save themselves from the destruction and hatred of the ‘civilised’ people.It is our duty to protect them and let them live the way they know,and as long as there are people like Jean-Pierre Dutilleux,who managed to raise awareness in the world about these unique people,there’s still a ray of hope for those people.After all,as Jean-Pierre says in his documentary,they have never lost their smiles,and this is how they should remain,hunting,fishing and smiling for a very long time.