Terrorized by gunmen, loggers, drug traffickers and encroaching farmers, the 355 surviving members of the Amazonian Awá tribe face extinction if the Brazilian government and the international community fail to protect them from what a Brazilian judge termed “a real genocide.” —ARK
“The Awá and the uncontacted Awá are really on the brink,” [Survival research director Fiona Watson] said. “It is an extremely small population and the forces against them are massive. They are being invaded by loggers, settlers and cattle ranchers. They rely entirely on the forest. They have said to me: ‘If we have no forest, we can’t feed our children and we will die’.”
But it appears that the Awá also face a more direct threat. Earlier this year an investigation into reports that an Awá child had been killed by loggers found that their tractors had destroyed the Awá camp.
“It is not just the destruction of the land; it is the violence,” said Watson. “I have talked to Awá people who have survived massacres. I have interviewed Awá who have seen their families shot in front of them. There are immensely powerful people against them. The land-grabbers use pistoleros to clear the land. If this is not stopped now, these people could be wiped out. This is extinction taking place before our eyes.”