The Intersection

Real tribe. Not really lost.


Turns out, the photos were a hoax to call attention to the dangers of the logging industry.

The disclosures have been made by the man behind the pictures, José 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 his first interviews since the disclosure of the tribe’s existence, Meirelles described how he found the group, detailed how they lived and how he planned the publicity to protect them and other tribes in similar danger of losing the habitat in which they have flourished for hundreds of years.

Regardless, don’t take deforestation lightly.


  1. #1 Philip H.
    June 24, 2008

    Miss Sheril,
    Stuff like this gives me melancholy. On the one hand, I want to protect both these types of tribes, and their habitats. On the other hand, I detest deception like this because it means that those of us doing natural resources work have yet another hoax to overcome when we try to convince the public of a real threat to some unique place or people or species. Taking the long view, this may do these people more harm then good.

    So how do I ease this miasma? I suppose, in the words of George Carlin “Honesty may be the best policy, but it’s important to remember that apparently, by elimination, dishonesty is the second-best policy.”

  2. #2 bob koepp
    June 24, 2008

    What Philip H said…
    The damage being done to science by such “lapses” of integrity will outlive the problems that are thought to “justify” playing fast and loose with the truth.

  3. #3 Sarah
    June 24, 2008

    Hi Sheril,

    Well…not sure it’s fair to call this a hoax, but rather irresponsible reporting and headlines gone gonzo. See:;_ylt=AkAbY37N6KEyDx4qcNGhpCAPLBIF

  4. #4 Jerseu
    June 24, 2008

    I agree, “hoax” is way too strong. The guy fudged the level of knowledge known about these people, but the photos are real – and they are the most striking part of this story for the average individual.

    What aggravates me is that if this official had simply talked to his PR people, they would have told him that lying about this being a newly discovered tribe is entirely unnecessary. The images are striking enough for those average citizens of the developed world to achieve the intended purpose. He really shot himself in the foot by trying to embellish a story that’s already told in the images.

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