2004 ,    »  -   6 Comments
Ratings: 8.79/10 from 70 users.

The Akuntsu are a small tribe indigenous to Rondonia, a stunning expanse of land located in the northwestern region of Brazil. This territory, once lush with rain forest, is now a shell of its former self thanks to widespread deforestation efforts, and the scattered tribes that populate the region have largely been uprooted or massacred in the process. The Akuntsu, a people which at one time numbered in the thousands, have now dwindled to just six remaining members.

These natives are all but powerless to stop incursions upon their homeland from outside interests; they are isolated, voiceless and in peril of complete extinction. These endangered tribespeople have been captured on film in the powerfully dramatic documentary Akuntsu. Patient and unobtrusive, the filmmakers observe the potential end of a civilization, unique customs never before witnessed by outsiders, and a noble fight to survive with dignity in the face of corporate greed.

Cattle ranching and soybean farming are the two primary industries that pose the greatest threat to the Akuntsu's way of life. As the film illustrates, this clashing of vastly opposing cultures is not a new phenomenon. Industrialists began to invade the region four decades ago when their construction of a new highway constituted the beginnings of native endangerment and ecological unbalance.

In the years since, investigations conducted by the National Indian Foundation (FUNAI) have uncovered irrefutable evidence that many Indian tribespeople in the region were massacred by gunmen under the employ of the encroaching cattle ranch industry. These invasions have also taken a more insidious toll on the Akuntsu and other tribes as well by making them more susceptible to disease.

Aided by FUNAI, these few remaining natives are struggling valiantly to maintain their foothold in the region, but the tides of industrialized "progress" continue to serve as a daily threat. The jungle they regard as their sanctuary has all but disappeared, and the sustainability of their entire culture might soon be nothing but a distant memory.

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6 Comments / User Reviews

  1. bluetortilla

    I couldn't watch all of this. Invaluable documentation, but it sucked the life out of me. Such brutality with hardly even one shred of hope.
    Many of us seem to think a lot that the great slaughter of the native peoples of the Americas is pretty much over, but here you can see direct evidence of what genocide was like then, and how it continues to be now.
    It's odd that slaves and victims of the whip in Brazil, rather than growing into sympathetic benefactors, instead chose to adopt the cold hearts of their masters before them; but that seems to be what has happened.

  2. Matthew Bennett
  3. Matthew Bennett

    Nothing strikes a nerve more than colonial powers coming in and destroying indigenous cultures. It's a worse assault on innocence than pedophilia, in my eyes. In Australia, we aren't committing genocide any more against the indigenous peoples, but we are still trying to systematically destroy their amazing culture. We have to act now to preserve what's left of them and their way of life before they end up facing 'the end of the world' like these poor Amazonians are.

  4. Sherry Calahan
  5. Sherry Calahan

    Money and Greed. Just another country among many around the world,
    including our own, that doesn't care about preserving culture, saving
    the natives and honoring the elders in the name of 'progress'. It is so
    sad and painful to watch. It's already to late for these people and you
    can see it here before your very eyes.

  6. bringmeredwine
  7. bringmeredwine

    Yes, this is depressing, but there is still beauty to be found by watching these primitive souls and the way they still live.
    The blowing ritual was fascinating. The fact that former enemies had united and formed an extended family gives us hope for mankind (well, for some of us).
    I can't change the world or run off to join FUNAI; but I will keep their tribe's memory close to my heart. They should be remembered for being independent, self-sufficient, gentle, loving and proud individuals. They are also very brave.
    I don't pity them and think their lives are already lost, because they have chosen to keep going. and they are very much alive. I respect them so much for that. The smile on the young woman's face could light up a city.
    I looked the Akuntsu up, trying to discover what happened to all them.
    Urura the grandmother died Oct. 2009. Her brother Konibu was seriously ill.
    The Man in the Hole was attacked by gunmen in November 2009. The good people of FUNAI believed he eluded his would be murderers.
    During this time, FUNAI's protection post was found ransacked and empty cartridges were found in the nearby forest.

    If you can find out something more recent, please let me know.

  8. empathy
  9. empathy

    Compassion not something the business man suffers with, but his love of the worlds worst invention, The Business Plan, is truly great.

  10. Tommy Tman
  11. Tommy Tman

    . . . and most of the soy is fed to cattle, to get them faster to slaughter.

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