The Final Stages of a Genocide

Linked with Survival International.  – Published on Dissident Voice, by Survival International, October 22nd, 2009.

The Akuntsu tribe in the Brazilian Amazon has lost its oldest member, Ururú, leaving the tribe with only five surviving members. Ururú was the oldest member of this close-knit, tiny group and an integral part of it.

Altair Algayer, head of FUNAI’s (Brazilian government Indian affairs department) team which protects the Akuntsu’s land said, ‘She was a fighter, strong, and resisted until the last moment.’ In addition, the oldest-surviving Akuntsu, Ururú’s brother Konibú, is seriously ill. Ururú witnessed the genocide of her people and the destruction of their rainforest home, as cattle ranchers and their gunmen moved on to indigenous lands in Rondônia state. Rondônia was opened up by government colonisation projects and the infamous BR 364 highway in the 1960s and 70s.

With Ururú dies a large part of the historical memory of this people. While we shall perhaps never know the full horrors inflicted on the Akuntsu in the last half century, today’s survivors say their family members were killed when ranchers bulldozed their houses and opened fire on them. The two surviving men, Konibú and Pupak, have marks on their bodies where bullets entered as they fled …

… The story of the Akuntsu, their neighbours the Kanoê, and the elusive ‘Man of the Hole’ is graphically told in a new film, Corumbiara. The Akuntsu also feature in Survival’s short film, Uncontacted Tribes. (full text).

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