Plight of Earth's most threatened tribe makes headlines worldwide

November 25, 2013

The plight of the Awá Indians is featured in Vanity Fair and the Sunday Times this month. © Vanity Fair

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The plight of Earth’s most threatened tribe is reaching millions of people worldwide this month, as the tribe’s shocking story is featured in Vanity Fair and the Sunday Times. Both spreads are illustrated with images by world-renowned photographer Sebastião Salgado.

Vanity Fair’s 13-page article is published in December’s edition. Its author, Senior Contributing Editor Alex Shoumatoff, spent weeks with Salgado and the Awá in the Amazon, to witness first-hand the alarming devastation of their forest home at the hands of armed loggers.

The Sunday Times Magazine’s piece was published on Sunday, November 24, highlighting the Awá’s plight – described by a Brazilian judge as ‘genocide’ – and Survival’s global campaign urging Brazil’s Justice Minister to protect the Awá’s land before the Indians are pushed to extinction.

The article traces Survival’s work back almost 45 years, noting its creation as the only organization that champions tribal peoples around the world following a Sunday Times Magazine article on genocide in the Amazon, by acclaimed writer Norman Lewis.

The pieces in the Sunday Times Magazine and Vanity Fair are both illustrated with images by world-renowned photographer Sebastião Salgado. © Sunday Times/Sebastão Salgado/Amazonas Pictures/NBPictures

Almost 55,000 protest emails have been sent to the Minister as a result of Survival’s Awá campaign, and the government has announced that the Awá are a priority. Authorities have notified the loggers that they will be removed but little concrete action has been taken.

Survival is now pushing Brazil to evict all the illegal invaders in the coming weeks, and to save the Awá to protect the country’s reputation before the 2014 World Cup.

Numerous celebrities, including Oscar-winning actor Colin Firth, actress Gillian Anderson, musician Julian Lennon, Olympic gymnast Louis Smith and alternative rock band Cake have pledged their support of the campaign by brandishing its Awáicon logo bearing the words ‘Brazil: Save the Awá’.

The Awá have warned, ‘We’re very worried. It’s really bad that the loggers are stealing our food. Justice Minister: help us now, please. Send in the police now!’.

They are one of Brazil’s last remaining nomadic hunter-gatherer peoples.