Brazilian Tribesmen See Ocean For First Time (Video)

So many important and beautiful 'firsts' in life are afforded to us while we're too young to appreciate them -- but perhaps in witnessing those moments through others, we ourselves can experience them anew.

For countless generations, South America's Xavante tribe has carried on their traditional ways of life in the lush forests of central Brazil, largely unaware of the coast hundreds of miles from their native home. But while few other people on Earth have maintained such a close connection to and great reverence for the natural world, these Xavante tribesmen have never laid eyes upon the unimaginable grandeur of the ocean -- that is, until just recently.

Last weekend, a group of representatives from the Xavante arrived in Rio de Janeiro to attend the People's Summit, a conference on indigenous land rights held in parallel with Rio+20. According to G1 Globo, a highlight of the trip thus far has been when the tribesmen, clad in bathing suits and sandals perhaps in preparation for their first beach visit, found themselves looking out from the edge of a continent.

As the others watched, one of the tribesman, named Arimathea, became the first to actually wet his toes in the gentle surf and lift a moistened finger to his lips.

"It's salty," he reported to the others. "It's different."

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Tags: Brazil | Oceans | Rio+20