Brazil: Last Member Of Isolated Indigenous Tribe Dies

Brazil: Last Member Of Isolated Indigenous Tribe Dies
Last updated Aug 31, 2022
Image credit: Survival International [via New York Post]


  • On Sat., Brazil's Indigenous Affairs Agency (FUNAI) announced the death of the last remaining member of an uncontacted Brazilian indigenous tribe, known as the "Man of the Hole" and believed to be about 60 years old.[1]
  • A FUNAI agent found the man's feather-covered body in a hammock outside his straw hut on Aug. 23 – likely 40 to 50 days after his passing – in the Tanaru Indigenous Territory, in the Rondônia state, bordering Bolivia. There were no signs of violence and it is believed he died of natural causes.[2]
  • After his tribe was decimated in attacks carried out by illegal ranchers that began in the 1980s, the unnamed man lived in total isolation for 26 years, rejecting contact with officials and rebuffing their strategically placed gifts.[3]
  • The death of the man, who reportedly dug dozens of deep holes to trap animals in his territory over the years, marks the first time that the disappearance of an uncontacted tribe has been reported in the country. However, other such societies are likely to have gone extinct without being documented.[4]
  • Brazil has a reported population of about 800K Indigenous people, who belong to more than 300 groups. Very little is known about what estimates suggest are as many as 114 isolated Indigenous groups.[5]
  • Among other isolated tribes facing the threat of extinction, the country's central-western Piripkura tribe is said to be the most endangered as it is reportedly down to three members.[6]


Establishment-critical narrative

The "Man of the Hole" is a symbol of the genocide of indigenous peoples, who have been intentionally annihilated by criminals pursuing profit. The other members of his tribe were killed decades ago and if Pres. Bolsonaro succeeds in abolishing Indigenous land protections, more tribes are likely to disappear.

Pro-establishment narrative

Brazilian officials looked after this lonely man's interests and wellbeing for 26 years as it has done with all of its hundreds of indigenous groups. Aside from protecting the 14% of Brazil already earmarked as indigenous land, Bolsonaro has sought to strike a delicate balance that recognizes the diversity of indigenous customs and culture, while establishing plans to sustainably utilize the biodiversity and mineral richness of the Amazon rainforest.

Nerd narrative

There's a 21% chance that Brazil will reach net zero deforestation by 2031, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

Establishment split



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