I had my doubts about the claims of the so called last uncontacted tribe in Amazon because of the willingness of the Brazilian Indian advocacy group Funai and its photographer Jose Carlos Meirelles to hover their helicopter right over the top of the village.
If they were so concerned about Indians remaining “uncontacted” then why fly a helicopter directly over the village? It seems my doubts were valid as news has broken today that the whole thing was a hoax:
Even in an age when cynical sleuths can hyper-analyze stories for truth and accuracy, the occasional hoax still slips through the cracks. Such was the case with a so-called “lost Amazon tribe.”
A few months ago, mainstream news outlets (including, ahem, Yahoo!) reported that a photographer had found a lost tribe of warriors near the Brazilian-Peruvian border. Photos of the tribe backed up his claim.
As it turns out, the story is only half true. The men in the photo are members of a tribe, but it certainly ain’t “lost.” In fact, as the photographer, José Carlos Meirelles, recently explained, authorities have known about this particular tribe since 1910. The photographer and the agency that released the pictures wanted to make it seem like they were members of a lost tribe in order to call attention to the dangers the logging industry may have on the group.
The photographer recently came clean, and news outlets, perhaps embarrassed at having been taken for a ride, have been slow to pick up the story. Now, the word is starting to spread and articles in the Buzz are picking up steam. Expect a lot more brutal truth in the coming days. [Yahoo Buzz]
Make sure to read the whole article in the British Guardian that broke this story because it also shows more of my other criticism of Meirelles which is how he treats these people in the Amazon tribes as nothing more then wildlife. However, I will still maintain that the pictures he took are pretty cool.