A Brazilian indigenist and a British journalist disappeared in the Amazon

Two professional veterans, a Brazilian indigenist specializing in uncontacted tribes and a British journalist, have been missing since dawn Sunday. They were last seen aboard a boat in the Yavarí Valley, one of the most remote areas of the Amazon. Bruno Pereira is an excellent connoisseur of the territory, where for many years he has worked for the National Indian Foundation (Funai), the official body in charge of protecting native peoples. He had received recent threats. Traveling with him was Dom Phillips, a regular contributor to Guardian who has been reporting and living in Brazil for 15 years. The Univaja association, which brings together all the indigenous peoples of the Yavarí Valley, and the Observatory of Isolated Peoples (OPI) have warned this Monday in separate notes that they have not heard from them for more than 24 hours. The Federal Police is on the case.

Pereira was one of the professionals interviewed by this correspondent to prepare the report Threatened: the last isolated tribes in Brazilpublished last month, a chronicle of those who protect and those who threaten native tribes who resist any contact with outsiders.

The Univaja association (the União dos Povos Indigenas do Vale do Javari) has explained in a statement that Pereira and Phillips had embarked on a boat trip to enter the Yavarí valley to a surveillance post managed by indigenous people so that the journalist would know the work they do and did some interviews. Phillips is writing a book on the environment with the help of the Alicia Patterson Foundation, as reported on Monday. Guardian.

Pereira and Phillips set sail at six o’clock on Sunday morning from the village of São Rafael to the city of Atalaia do Norte on a journey that should have lasted a couple of hours, but they did not reach their destination. Two teams from Univaja, made up of indigenous people who combine technology with their ancestral knowledge, went looking for them in the following hours, but were unable to locate them or find any traces.

Univaja teams had received threats just days before. They were not the first, as the association recalled.

The Yavarí River, in the Amazon Basin, where Pereira and Phillips were last seen.
The Yavarí River, in the Amazon Basin, where Pereira and Phillips were last seen.Monica Posada

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The Yavarí Valley Indigenous Land is located to the west of the Amazon, on the border with Colombia and Peru. It is one of the best preserved areas of the largest tropical forest in the world and suffers from constant incursions by hunters and poachers, loggers and drug traffickers, who threaten the subsistence of the uncontacted tribes and the rest of the indigenous people who live in this territory. the size of Panama.

Pereira had taken an unpaid leave of absence from his official position at Funai. He is among the professionals who know the valley best, has participated in multiple expeditions and works with extreme caution. In 2019, he coordinated the largest expedition in search of isolated indigenous people in 20 years, which meant making an exception (to avoid greater evils) in the no-contact policy that Brazil has maintained for more than three decades.

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