While the rest of the world is worried about the latest iPhone release date, there are tribes that have never seen a phone. In fact, they have never seen a car, a computer or a television. The world as we know it is too big for them and all they know is the small island or forest their ancestors inhabited decades ago. These tribes follow cultural practices and traditions which are passed on to their children and repel any outsider from infiltrating their land. These are groups of people that have avoided, or even rejected, contact with the outside world. Here are 10 isolated tribes or communities that dwell in this modern era but still live in the past.
Location: Vale do Javari of the western Amazon Basin
The korubo are indigenous people who chose to isolate themselves from the outside world. Very little is known about the tribe and it’s people but one thing we know for sure is that they wish to remain undisturbed. Whenever a helicopter or airplane passes by for research purposes, the people are known to shoot arrows or simply hide in the forest to be unseen. Both men and women paint themselves with a red dye from the roucou plant.
Research suggests that the nomadic hunter gatherers are constantly on the move. They are capable of building large communal huts called malocas within a few hours and abandon them in a matter of days. Their diet consists mainly of fish, spider monkeys, peccary, birds, wild pig, fruit, manioc and corn. They have some knowledge of agriculture, planting manioc and other crops in forest clearings. The Korubo Indians use clubs for defense but are also known to use poison darts from time to time. Although there has been no indication of religious practices taking place, the tribe is known to occasionally practice infanticide for unknown reasons.
2. Vale do Javari
Location: Vale do Javari, far-western Brazil
Vale do Javari in Brazil is home to at least 14 uncontacted indigenous tribes and approximately 2,000 individuals live autonomously from the Brazilian government in an area the size of Austria. Their isolation is protected by a federal agency charged with preventing outsiders from invading indigenous territories. Satellite images show around 19 villages deep inside Amazon’s reservation areas. Their culture, and even their survival, is threatened by illegal fishing, hunting, logging and mining in the area, along with deforestation by farmers, missionary activity and drug trafficking along Brazil’s borders.
Location: Gran Chaco, Río de la Plata basin, Paraguay and Bolivia
The Ayoreo, belonging to Paraguay’s Ayoreo-Totobiegosode Indians, and Grande Rivers, spanning both Bolivia and Paraguay, were first discovered during the 1720’s. It is estimated that 3,000 live in Bolivia and 2,600 live in Paraguay. The group was much larger but their lands were invaded and the tribal men, women and children were slaughtered during late 1900’s. Today, the 5,600 Ayoreo tribe members are threatened by deforestation and loss of territory. In the Ayoreo language, Ayoreo means “true people,” and Ayoreode means “human beings. They speak the Ayoreo language, and 20% of the Ayoreo are literate.
Location: North Sentinel Island, Andaman Islands of India
The Sentinelese tribe are also called the “Lost Tribe” since they are completely isolated from the rest of the world. For thousands of years, they have managed to live peacefully by keeping any form of civilization from poisoning their lifestyle. Located in the bay of Bengal, the Andaman islands, the Sentinelese are hostile towards outsiders and will attack anyone getting too close to the shores.
In 2006, Sentinelese archers killed two fishermen who were fishing illegally within range of the island. When a helicopter was sent to retrieve the mens’ bodies, the chopper too was attacked by the archers. Currently, the Indian government has a policy to leave them alone and has forbidden anyone from disrupting their peace. The only knowledge about their lifestyle is from visual observation, miles away. Witnesses described that they are utilizing metal objects from ships washed ashore to make spears and arrows.
5. The man of the hole – TI Tanaru
Location: Tanaru River, Rondonia, Western Brazil
Very little is known about TI Tanaru who is also known worldwide as “The man of the hole”, since he lives a life of isolation. The Brazilian native is the last known survivor of the tribe. Anthropologists who have been studying him don’t know the name of his tribe or most of his life. The only thing known about Tanaru is that his family members were slaughtered and the rest of the tribe died during the massacre or from illness. Tanaru is popular worldwide because of his hunting style. He is known to dig holes more than 6 feet deep to either trap animals or avoid threats himself in the vast Amazonian jungle. When FUNAI could not establish contact with him for peace, they declared the a 31-square-mile area around his known location to be off-limits. It was later extended by 11.5 square miles to ensure that poachers or illegal miners would be kept away from the “loneliest man on Earth”.
Location: Piranhas River, Brazil
The isolated tribe in the Brazilian rain forest live a Neolithic way of life. Brazilian photographer Ricardo Stuckert was able to capture high-resolution images of the tribe, giving us an insight into what their life is like. The tribe is known to change locations every year or so to avoid detection and are known to farm corn, manioc and bananas around their communal huts. Anthropologists believe that there maybe roughly 80-100 tribal people in the area. They are known to send a barrage of arrows to any aircraft flying too low, to show a sign of resistance.
Location: Colniza, Brazil
Formerly called the Rio Pardo Indians, the Kawahiva people are an uncontacted indigenous tribe who live in city of Colniza, Brazil. The tribe members keep outsiders away from their people and are constantly on the move to avoid outside civilizations. While moving, they abandon almost everything; such as arrows, communal homes, baskets and hammocks. They were first discovered during the 1700’s but by early 2000, their existence started to get threatened.
Illegal poachers and loggers attempted to kill or enslave them. Around 10 tribe members were brutally murdered by the loggers and the rest of the tribesmen were forced to move from their territory. In 2005, the Brazilian government started an investigation and by 2012, their land was turned into an official reservation to keep people away. Today, they are rarely seen by the outside world.
Location: West Papua, Indonesian Province of Papua
The Korowai tribe are people native to Indonesia who live a primitive lifestyle. Also called the Kolufo, there are about 3,000 members who are reported to be cannibals but anthropologists suspect that it is is no longer practiced. The majority of the Korowai clans live in tree houses on their isolated territory. The first documented contact took place on March 17 and 18 in 1974.
The indigenous people in Peru’s Amazon have no regular contact with outsiders. They live in the Manu region in south-east Peru and are known by anthropologists and locals as the ‘Mashco-Piro’. They are one of an estimated fifteen indigenous groups who have no contact with the outside world. In the last decade the number of sightings of or encounters with the ‘Mashco-Piro’ has increased. Anthropologists believe that the sightings have increased due to the oil drilling and deforestation going on nearby.
Location: Andaman Island
The Jarawa tribe in the Andaman Island has for centuries kept distance from the rest of the world. The indigenous tribe are estimated at between 250–400 individuals who shun interaction with outsiders. Most of the details about their life is unknown since they have kept to themselves for thousands of years. Jarawas are a nomadic tribe that hunt endemic wild pigs and lizards. Their main choice of weapons are bows and arrows.