amazon tribe
Last month, a previously uncontacted Amazon tribe approached scientists from the Brazilian government. Their largest concern was the potential for disease transmission.

In a recent announcement, FUNAI, Brazil‘s Indian protection agency, revealed that several members of the tribe had contracted the flu.

Five men and two women between the ages of 13 and 21 had caught the flu. Carlos Travassos, FUNAI’s general coordinator for the operation, worked with a team including doctors and two translators to ensure the tribal members received medical care.

Once contact was made, the Indians were wary of the team’s intentions, but after long deliberation, the Indians opted for treatment.

The seven members of the tribe were taken to a FUNAI base for treatment. They remained there for five days for treatment and observation.

FUNAI researchers worry that the treated Indians may bring the flu to the other members of the tribe. Tribes that have no previous encounters with the rest of world are at a much greater risk of fatal consequences from common illnesses.

An overwhelming number of Indians in the Americas died from a series of plagues after the Europeans–bringing unfamiliar pathogens with them–arrived from the Old World. Thousands of Amazonian Indians faced death during the 19th and 20th century as a result of the rubber trade, which produced violence, enslavement and disease.

This specific tribe reached out due to increasing violence and conflict in the Amazon. Their region, near the Peruvian border, has had an increased activity of drug trafficking and illegal logging.

The Indians told FUNAI that white men have shot at the tribe.

The violence that coerced the tribe to seek contact is demonstrative of the larger critical situation. The threats that isolated tribes face are becoming more urgent and prevalent.

According to Survival International, despite reassurances from both Peru and Brazil to prevent illegal logging and drug trafficking that have displaced Indians, threats continue. Worse, the traffickers have taken over the government installation intended to monitor their behavior.

In addition to this tribe, there are at least four uncontacted tribes in the Brazilian state of Acre and two across the border in Peru. The Amazon is estimated to contain the world’s largest concentration of uncontacted tribes, with approximately 70 in the Brazilian Amazon alone.

Although this immediate problem for the tribe has been handled, long-term issues remain. The fate of the tribe largely depends upon FUNAI’s efforts to ensure long-term assistance and exclusive land for the tribe.

– William Ying 

Sources: Forbes, Business Insider, Science Magazine, FUNAI, The Washington Post, USA Today
Photo: Business Insider

fight poverty
It’s summer. That means wedding season and wedding season means thousands of couples will be getting married across the country. If you, like them, are in love and about to walk down the aisle, here are five ways you can fight poverty with your wedding:

1. Forgo traditional gifts.

Use your big day to fight poverty by asking guests to donate money to advocacy organizations such as The Borgen Project. Follow these instructions on how to set up a page to donate your wedding

2. Register with fair trade companies.

If you are financially unable to forgo gifts, then make a fair trade registry and make sure your gifts have a purpose and are ethical. Companies such as Amani ya Juu, Serrv and Ten Thousand Villages offer registries you can use to support impoverished workers from Kenya to Guatemala to Vietnam.

3. Have a dollar dance.

In many cultures, the bride and groom traditionally have a dollar dance where they tell guests they can pay a dollar or two to dance briefly with the bride or groom. Pick a few fun songs and set up baskets on both sides of the dancefloor. Donate the money from your dance to your cause of choice.

4. Take a responsible, eco-friendly honeymoon.

Every time you travel, you have the opportunity to help the people around you. Take a honeymoon that not only makes memories for you and your spouse but also creates a better place for locals to live. Use websites, like Responsible Travel,to make sure you support conservationism and human rights while you “travel like a local.” Companies, like Tribes, plant trees on your behalf and guarantee living-wage incomes to local employees.

5. Give to charities instead of favors.

Instead of giving your guests personalized candles or bags of coffee, make donations in their names to The Borgen Project or nonprofits like it. Through Heifer International, you can donate shares of larger animals for $10 to $85 or flocks of chicks for $20. Your wedding could provide eggs from hundreds of chickens to impoverished families across the world.

Sally Nelson

Sources: The Borgen Project, Amani, Serrv, Ten Thousand Villages, Responsible Travel, Tribes, Heifer International
Photo: Wikipedia