Colombia’s most recently contacted tribe violently forced from homes 25 April 2014

"Nukak have been forced into sedentary life on the outskirts of towns, while their land has been taken over by illegal armed groups."
"Nukak have been forced into sedentary life on the outskirts of towns, while their land has been taken over by illegal armed groups."
© David Hill/Survival

Nukak Indians in Colombia have been forced from their homes by illegal armed groups, in the latest attack against the country’s most recently-contacted tribe.

Eight Nukak families were evicted from their land in Colombia’s south-east San José del Guaviare region. They have now taken shelter in temporary camps.

The Nukak’s existence only became widely known in 1988, when around 40 members of the tribe surprised colonists by turning up in their newly-established town inside the Nukak’s ancestral territory.

Following the contact, half of the Nukak succumbed to outside diseases such as flu and malaria.

Despite a successful campaign by Survival, National Indigenous Organization ONIC, and others to create an indigenous reserve for the Nukak, their forest has been overrun by illegal armed groups and coca-growers, and land-mines are thought to litter the area.

The once-nomadic hunter-gatherer Indians have been largely reduced to sedentary refugees, who rely on state handouts for their survival.

Colombia’s bloody conflict between illegal armed groups (now funded primarily by the cocaine trade) and government forces has destroyed the lives of tens of thousands of indigenous people.

According to ONIC, 35 Colombian Indians are displaced from their homes every day, and one indigenous person is killed every 40 hours.

 

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Act now to help the Nukak

Campaigning for the Nukak’s rights has already made a huge difference. After campaigns led by Survival and local indigenous organisations, the Colombian government created a Nukak reserve in 1993 and enlarged it in 1997.

What the Nukak want now is for the boundaries of their reserve to be respected and for them to be able to live there in peace.

Please write to the Colombian government to urge them to ensure the Nukak can return to their land.

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