From CNN in 2008: The National Indian Foundation (FUNAI), a government agency in Brazil, published the photos Thursday on its Web site. It tracks "uncontacted tribes" -- indigenous groups that are thought to have had no contact with outsiders -- and seeks to protect them from encroachment.
CNN article from May 2008
Gallery from May 2008
Great story, right? Get the word out there about illegal logging and how it's destroying these "lost tribes" deep within the Amazon. Sure, except, it was debunked as a "lost tribe" just a couple months after the story was released.
From the Guardian (UK) in June 2008:
Tribal guardian admits the Amazon Indians’ existence was already known, but he hoped the publicity would lift the threat of logging
They are the amazing pictures that were beamed around the globe: a handful of warriors from an ‘undiscovered tribe’ in the rainforest on the Brazilian-Peruvian border brandishing bows and arrows at the aircraft that photographed them.
Or so the story was told and sold. But it has now emerged that, far from being unknown, the tribe’s existence has been noted since 1910 and the mission to photograph them was undertaken in order to prove that ‘uncontacted’ tribes still existed in an area endangered by the menace of the logging industry.
The disclosures have been made by the man behind the pictures, Jose Carlos Meirelles, 61, one of the handful of sertanistas “experts on indigenous tribes“ working for the Brazilian Indian Protection Agency, Funai, which is dedicated to searching out remote tribes and protecting them.
In other words, this agency, FUNAI, sold a nice, shiny story to the mainstream media and they bit without doing any extensive research or without even looking at the photos (i.e. if the tribe was really "never contacted before" why do they have metal pots and machetes?).
Well, I guess even mainstream media can make a mistake every now and then, right?
Fast forward to today... when I came across this article on Yahoo's home page from the AP:
Brazil has allowed the release of rare photographs of an uncontacted Amazonian tribe to bring attention to the plight of indigenous people who rights groups say are faced with possible annihilation.
The astonishing images, showing curious adults and children peering skyward with their faces dyed reddish-orange and toting bows, arrows and spears, were taken by Brazil's National Indian Foundation (FUNAI).
Article from January 2011.
Different picture... same story.
I've seen this article posted around numerous "trusted" vendors for mainstream media today. FUNAI has sold them a bill of goods again, and either nobody bothered to fact check--AGAIN--or they decided to run it anyway because they thought we would forget and we should hear the horror stories of illegal logging.
Whether or not the story is worthy of a re-run (which illegal logging surely could use more publicity), media outlets need to have a much higher level of scrutiny and morality in not feeding us false or stretched "news" for any reason. Their job is to REPORT the news... not make it.
Just another reason you shouldn't believe everything you read coming from mainstream media.