Saving the Awas
Human greed and mindless destruction of woodland are nowhere as stark as in the dirt roads of Amazon, in Brazil. The world’s greatest rainforest and its most endangered tribe, the Awa are teetering on the edge of extinction.
The existing 355 members of the Awa tribe (100 of who have no contact with outside world) are waging a grim battle for survival.
Mercenaries pour into the Awá’s land, building illegal settlements and running cattle ranches. Hired gunmen – known as pistoleros– are reported to be hunting the Awás who stand in the way of land-grabbers.
Awa members are being wiped out.
The Awa tribe faces a terrible situation. It’s now or never for the tribe. The Brazilian government must take immediate steps to prevent the mindless logging which can save the tribe.
“It’s a real genocide,” says Brazilian judge José Carlos do Vale Madeira.
The Awá is one of the two nomadic hunter-gathering tribes left in the Amazon, says Survival International (SI). They are now the world’s most threatened tribe, assailed by gunmen, loggers and hostile settler farmers, SI adds.
Their troubles began in 1982 with the inauguration of a European Economic Community (EEC) and World Bank-funded program to extract iron ore deposits found in the Carajás mountains. The EEC gave Brazil $600m to build a railway from the mines to the coast, on condition that Europe receives a third of the output, a minimum of 13.6m tons annually for 15 years.
Fiona Watson, Survival’s research director, says: “The Awá and the uncontacted Awá are on the brink. It is an extremely small population and the forces against them are massive. They are being invaded by loggers, settlers and cattle ranchers.”
Oscar-winning actor Colin Firth campaigned for the Awa rights. Firth, who starred in the movie The King’s Speech, and shot into limelight playing Mr Darcy in the 1995 BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, urges Brazilian minister of justice to save the endangered tribe.
This is our chance.
Act now to save Earth’s most endangered tribe.