THE LONELIEST MAN IN THE WORLD: How Amazon's 'Man in the hole' chose to live alone for 26 years!

The man, whose name was not known, had lived in complete isolation from the outside world for the past 26 years

THE LONELIEST MAN IN THE WORLD: How Amazon's 'Man in the hole' chose to live alone for 26 years!
The tribesman's body was found on August 23 in a hammock outside his straw hut, adorned by feathers (National Indian Foundation/New Scientist)
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RONDONIA, BRAZIL: The last remaining member of an uncontacted indigenous tribe in the Amazon forest has reportedly died.

The man, whose name was not known, had lived in complete isolation from the outside world for the past 26 years. He came to be known as 'Man of the Hole' because he dug deep holes, which he used to trap animals, to hide, or for ceremonial purposes. The man's body was found on August 23 in a hammock outside his straw hut, adorned by feathers. There were no signs of violence and he is thought to have died of natural causes at an estimated age of 60. The man was reportedly the last of an indigenous group living in the Tanaru area in the Brazilian state of Rondônia and stood as a symbol of Indigenous resilience for over two decades.

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Brazil's Indigenous Affairs Agency (Funai) announced the discovery on August 27. "He symbolized both the appalling violence and cruelty inflicted on Indigenous peoples worldwide in the name of colonization and profit, but also their resistance," said Fiona Watson, the research and advocacy director of Survival International, which works to protect tribal peoples' rights. "We can only imagine what horrors he had witnessed in his life, and the loneliness of his existence after the rest of his tribe were killed, but he determinedly resisted all attempts at contact, and made clear he just wanted to be left alone."

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The Man of the Hole's tribe had been the target of a bloody massacre since the 1970s. Their fertile land in the western Brazilian Amazon rainforest is highly sought after by farmers, loggers, ranchers, as well as miners, and without due government protection, his people were brutally poisoned and killed. Only seven members of the tribe remained in the early 1990s. Six of them were massacred by illegal miners in 1995, but no one has been held accountable to date.

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Funai realized the Man of the Hole was still alive nearly a year later, and has since kept a close eye on him while maintaining a healthy distance. In 1996, a camera accompanying FUNAI officials captured a rare sighting of the man on video. His frightened eyes were seen staring out from inside a straw hut where he was hiding. He reportedly made no sound and simply poked a sharpened wooden stick through the hut wall to intimidate the uninvited visitors.

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Brazilian officials severely restricted access to his land in the year 1998 in an attempt to protect the man from outside harm. Nonetheless, cartridge shells were found on his land in 2009, aside from signs of damage to a Funai post where agents were occasionally stationed to protect the recluse. Following a couple of failed attempts to make contact with the man, Funai eventually decided to leave him alone as he showed no signs of wanting help. The only other known footage of the tribesman was filmed in 2018, when he was spotted during a chance sighting in the jungle, hacking away at a large tree with a tool that resembled an axe

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Now, after the death of the legendary Man of the Hole, global organizations Survival and OPI, the Observatory for the Human Rights of Uncontacted and Recently-Contacted Peoples, are demanding heightened and permanent protection of the Tanaru Indigenous Territory (TIT). Watson, a staunch critic of Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro, said that if he and "his agribusiness allies get their way, this story will be repeated over and over again until all the country's Indigenous peoples are wiped out." She added, "The Indigenous movement in Brazil, and Survival, will do everything possible to ensure that doesn't happen."

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Brazil's indigenous population is facing difficult times. In 2020, the South American nation reported a 61 percent increase in Indigenous murders from the year before, reaching 182 homicides. Brazil's constitution grants indigenous peoples the right to their traditional land and a protection order for the TIT has been in place since the late 1990s. However, Funai has federally recognized only a few of these isolated groups, while the rest remain vulnerable and without government protection.

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Disclaimer : This is based on sources and we have been unable to verify this information independently.

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