In the depths of the rainforest lives the sole survivor of one of the few remaining uncontacted Amazonian tribes. Little is known about the man, but it is believed that the rest of his tribe was massacred by ranchers sometime in the 1970s or 1980s. Since then, he has remained on his native land, in a small hut, where he grows vegetables and hunts animals just as his predecessors before him. When the curious venture through the forest to catch a peek of him, he retreats to a hole in his hut, spear in hand, ready to defend himself. Recently though, it was discovered that he had been attacked with gunfire, and local ranchers are once again to blame.Brazil's Indian Affairs department, FUNAI, has oversight of the land, which it protects for the lone tribesman--dubbed the 'Man of the Hole'-- to use. It was local ranchers, the department believes, who carried out the attack because they oppose the government's protection of the land--which is surrounded by cattle ranches and soy-bean plantations.
The extent of the attack is not known, but spent shotgun shell casings in the area have FUNAI officials very concerned. "This is a serious situation. The Indian's life is being put in danger by the interests of the ranchers," said FUNAI's Altair Algayer. Despite the attack, the officials believe the 'Man of the Hole' is likely still alive, while the perpetrators remain at large.
'Man in the Hole' on film captured by filmaker Vincent Carelli
The event occurred last month in a rural region in state of Rondônia, as reported by the organization Survival, a group committed to preserving the rights of indigenous tribes. According the group's director, Stephen Corry:
His tribe has been massacred and now the 'Man of the Hole' faces the same fate. The ranchers must allow this man to live out his last days in peace on his own land, and the authorities must do all they can to protect it.
The disturbing implications of the attack on the tribesman reflect on the precarious state of the Amazon itself. The 'Man of the Hole', in many ways, offers a face to a region threatened by encroaching development and deforestation from ranchers and farmers. And, as easily condemnable as is this one attack, so too must be the larger scale assualt on the forests which he, and so few others like him, call home.