Colin Firth launches campaign to save ‘Earth’s most threatened tribe’

April 25, 2012

Colin Firth has appealed to save the Awá from extinction © Survival

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Oscar-winning film star Colin Firth today launched a major Survival International campaign to save ‘Earth’s most threatened tribe’ – the Awá of the Brazilian Amazon.

The centerpiece of the campaign is a short film, featuring an appeal by Colin Firth and music by Grammy-winning composer Heitor Pereira.

The Awá are a small tribe whose territory has been invaded by a vast army of illegal loggers, ranchers and settlers. Astonishing graphics on the campaign website show the devastating destruction of the Indians’ forest – which is happening faster than any other Amazon tribe.

Illegal settlers have reached just 30 minutes' walk from Little Butterfly's community © Survival International

The situation is now so critical that several Brazilian experts have spoken of a ‘genocide’ and ‘extinction’.

There are around 360 contacted Awá. Many are the survivors of brutal massacres. It is believed that 20-25% more are hiding in the rapidly-shrinking forest, desperately seeking a refuge from the constant destruction.

The campaign aims to persuade Brazil’s Justice Minister to send in federal police to clear out the loggers, ranchers and settlers, and keep them out.

In his appeal Colin Firth says, ‘The Awá’s forest is being illegally cut for timber. When the loggers see them, they kill them. Their bows and arrows are no match for guns. And at any other time in history, that’s where it would end. Another people wiped off the face of the earth, forever. But we’re going to make sure the world doesn’t let that happen…

The Awá are Earth's most threatened tribe © Survival International

Survival’s film features unique footage of the Awá, who rarely allow outsiders in to their communities. Highlights include scenes showing the Indians’ extraordinarily close relationship to their pets; the moonlit ritual in which the Awá talk to their ancestors’ spirits; and the devastating destruction caused by loggers and ranchers, who set whole hillsides alight.

Survival’s Director Stephen Corry said today, ‘The Awá are threatened by the armed loggers, but also by our own apathy. Yet these campaigns have been repeatedly shown to be successful. If enough people, in Brazil and around the world, show they care, Awá children will be able to grow up in peace on their own land. That’s been proved over and over again.’

Note to Editors:

1. Other unique and exclusive films are available on the campaign website:

2. Exclusive photos and further footage is available.

3. Survival’s Research Director Fiona Watson, one of the world’s leading experts on uncontacted tribes, is available for interview.

4. ‘Uncontacted’ means people who have no peaceful contact with anyone in the mainstream or dominant society. Read a Q and A about uncontacted tribes.