R.I.P. Ururu

Amazon tribe down to five as oldest member dies: “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… [T]oday’s survivors say their family members were killed when ranchers bulldozed their houses and opened fire on them… The ranchers attempted to hide evidence of the crime, but wooden poles, arrows, axes and broken pottery were discovered.

…Survival’s Director Stephen Corry said today, ‘With Ururú’s death we are seeing the final stages of a 21st century genocide. Unlike mass killings in Nazi Germany or Rwanda, the genocides of indigenous people are played out in hidden corners of the world, and escape public scrutiny and condemnation. Although their numbers are small, the result is just as final. Only when this persecution is seen as akin to slavery or apartheid will tribal peoples begin to be safe.’ ” (Survival International)