Nukak appear out of the rainforest at remote town

Nukak man hunting with a blow-pipe.
Nukak man hunting with a blow-pipe.

A group of Nukak recently arrived at a remote town in south-east Colombia, according to Colombia’s indigenous organisation ONIC.

ONIC says it received reports of the arrival of the Nukak at San Jose del Guaviare, in south-east Colombia, on 5 April. It said the group numbered 26 people, consisting of men, women and children.

According to local sources, it was the first time the group as a whole had visited San Jose. It is believed that one reason they were driven to the town was because of a lack of medical attention in their own territories.

ONIC highlighted the appearance of the Nukak at San Jose as further evidence of the threats of ‘physical and cultural extinction’ facing them. They left San Jose and returned home towards the end of April.

In the past, many Nukak have fled to San Jose to escape the civil war that has engulfed their land, and are now living in extremely difficult conditions on the outskirts of that town. Since first sustained contact in 1988, more than 50% of the Nukak have died, mainly as a result of illnesses and diseases.

ONIC launched an international campaign this year to help the Nukak and save more than 60% of Colombia’s indigenous groups from ‘extinction’. Two indigenous leaders, Luis Fernando Arias Arias and Neida Janeth Yepes Rodriguez, toured Europe in March as part of the campaign.