Imagine... attacks and disease have killed your relatives, and now you live on the run to prevent the extinction of your people. This is the plight of the Kawahiva.
The Kawahiva are a small group of uncontacted Amazon Indians, the embattled survivors of genocidal attacks. Their territory - Rio Pardo, in Mato Grosso state, lies within one of the most violent regions in Brazil, the municipality of Colniza.
Very little is known about the Kawahiva. They live a nomadic lifestyle, which they have been forced to adopt with the invasion of their ancestral homelands.
Government workers have stumbled across old clearings in the forest, which suggest that several generations ago they probably cultivated corn and manioc and lived a more settled life. Now, abandoned bows, arrows, and stashes of nuts testify to the importance of hunting and gathering.
One unusual, perhaps poignant, discovery is fences made of palm branches surrounding their temporary camps. Are they hastily erected to keep wild animals at bay? Or do the Kawahiva hope the boundary will deter attacks from the outsiders they fear?
We might never know the answer to such questions, but what lies beyond doubt is that these attacks are pushing the tribe to the brink of extinction, and the Kawahiva are in great danger.
Survival has been successfully campaigning behind the scenes for the Kawahiva for more than a decade, but we now fear that time is running out for them. On Indigenous People's Day (Columbus Day) there is no better time to take the campaign public and stop history from repeating itself with the annihilation of yet another tribe.
Our objective is simple - the decree authorizing the mapping out and protection of their land has been sitting on the Minister of Justice’s desk since 2013. We need you, and thousands more, to persuade him to sign it!
Please take a few minutes to watch and share our short film about the Kawahiva, narrated by actor Mark Rylance. It includes a rare glimpse of the tribe, in footage taken by government fieldworkers during a chance encounter in the forest. Please email Brazil's Minister of Justice demanding he signs the decree as a matter of urgency, to save the Kawahiva from extinction.
We simply must not let the Kawahiva enter the history books. Our triumphant campaign for the Awá is proof that when we come together and exert enough pressure, we can succeed!
Together we can give the Kawahiva a future.
Brazil Campaigns Team