Don Quixote of the Jungle

2000, Nature  -   6 Comments
Ratings: 8.29/10from 24 users.

817,000 indigenous people live in Brazil, 0.4 percent of this country's population, and they're endangered. When the white man arrived in Brazil in the year 1500, there were six million native people living here. What has happened since then? For the moment, our admirable and beloved Zoe, have been saved. But it takes someone other than themselves to cushion the blow of contact with our cruel and developed world, which has done so much damage to other tribes of the rainforest and their world.

These people of the remotest forest have no flag, no anthem; no nationalistic rights whatsoever. They live in peace in their tranquil republic of water and trees that is until an oil company digs its claws into their ancestral lands.

It has already happened to others. They were the masters of their world, but now they are the slaves of another, pawns on the Wall Street and Tokyo trading floors. Over the past 500 years, the white population in Brazil has multiplied by 27 while the indigenous has been divided by 20. When the Portuguese landed in this part of the Americas, human beings communicated with each other in 1,300 different local languages. Now the Indians of Brazil speak only 170 languages. Nearly all of them know how to demand justice in Portuguese, but they're not always listened to.

Someone must speak for them, one of our own, without being paternalistic, with sensitivity; a white friend of the Indians, one who feels the loss of these cultures as the greatest misfortune to befall our homogeneous Western society. Sydney Ferreira Possuelo has defended their rights on all fronts throughout his life. Earning the respect and friendship of the indigenous peoples and defending their rights at the highest levels, such as when he was the president of the Indian Protection Agency's Department of Isolated Indians.

In this way and only in this way he succeed in protecting the territory of isolated tribes such as the Zoe and in expelling those who wanted to eliminate them. It's no wonder the Zoe receive him as one of their own. Above all, Possuelo is a man of action. He's one of our own, don't forget, and he knows the destructive capacity of our marvelous modern society. Though a cosmopolitan activist, he spends half his life here, where the real struggle is, in the deepest, most remote forest. And from the very start he risks his neck.

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6 Comments / User Reviews

  1. F. Thorne

    Wonderful documentary. I always find it strange when South American's are often so proud of their Spanish or Portuguese language & heritage, to me it's just another colonial language just like English, I don't mind it from a communications point of view, I think English is a wonderful language, but we have to remember that is was used as another tool to remove native culture, just as Spanish & Portuguese was applied in South America.

  2. Linda Best

    The beauty of this documentary far out-weighs quibbling over percentages. There is love demonstrated here for endangered aboriginal tribes that understands them, even when viciously murdered. They realize that such revenge is the accumulation of 500 years of betrayal and pain. This loving of people groups who may even turn upon them, transcends all religions. These ambassadors epitomize love and peace.

  3. nadianoor

    I love the content in this documentary because it forces me to step outside of everything I consider to be society in my mind. Once I step out, I realize just how *created* by man every system really is... and the only thing deeming these systems as "natural" is our continued tolerance of and continuing within them.

  4. Bob Trees

    Really sad seeing western style religion forced down these people's throat. :-((

  5. Honeybadger

    Brazil has a population of almost 200 million. 1% of that would be 2 million, not 330,000. If you can't get even basic facts and figures right how is anyone supposed to believe the veracity of your other assertions? This is surely a film worth avoiding.

    1. Vlatko

      You're right. This doc is filmed 13 years ago, but even if we take that into account the number is still terribly wrong.

      Wiki says the following: 817,000, 0.4% of Brazil's population.