Gleison Miranda, Funai/AP
The 'uncontacted Indians' of the Envira, photographed during an overflight in May 2008,
are located in the Terra Indigena Kampa e Isolados do Envira, Acre state, Brazil, close
to the border of Peru. (AP)

‘Lost’ Amazon Tribe Story Not a Hoax, Just Misreported

June 25, 2008 12:37 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
The photographer and the organization behind the photos of a remote tribe in the Amazon are defending their claims in response to accusations that they misled the media.

30-Second Summary

An Al Jazeera interview with photographer Jose Carlos Meirelles has led to charges from several media outlets that the he and the indigenous rights group Survival International made false claims that they had discovered and photographed a previously unknown indigenous tribe in the rainforest.

The Guardian set off a chain of accusatory articles with a June 22 report in which it said that Meirelles had acknowledged that he did not come across the tribe unexpectedly, as widely reported at first, and that the tribe had been known about for almost a century.

The original stories about the tribe simply got out of hand, says Survival International expert Fiona Watson. “Some of the media got very carried away and started talking about undiscovered tribes,” she said to LiveScience.

The group, which helped to publicize the photos, denied Tuesday that it had described the tribe as "lost" and said that its objective at the time had been to show that they existed.

“These Indians are in a reserve expressly set aside for the protection of uncontacted tribes: they were hardly ‘unknown,’” said Survival International Director Stephen Corry in a statement.

Writer Warner Todd Huston of NewsBusters comments that, although the media ran away with the original story without investigating all of its facts, now, "the newest news of the incident is going to the other extreme and calling the whole incident a 'hoax.' But the revelations made by the photographer do not really reveal an outright hoax as much as evidence that the original story was only a little misleading."

Headline Links: 'Photo of Amazon tribe not a hoax'

Background: 'Amazon Tribe Discovered in Brazilian Rainforest'

Opinion & Analysis: 'Media Fooled'

Related Topics: Brazilian environment minister, Amazon development

Reference: The Amazon


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