An indigenous man who survived completely alone and without contact for decades after a series of tribal killings in Brazil’s Amazon has died, a local government agency said Saturday.
The so-called “hole man,” thought to be around 60 years old, was found dead in a hammock inside his hut on the Tanal Indigenous land in midwestern Brazil. Funai reported.
FUNAI said there was no evidence of violence or struggle and he is believed to have died of natural causes.
The so-called “Man in the Hole” appears to be chopping down a tree in a video shot by Funai, Brazil’s National Indigenous Agency. (Photo: Funai)
According to Survival International, a nonprofit that works to protect indigenous lands and their inhabitants, the man, who made a name for himself by digging holes to catch and hide prey, was killed by FUNAI. It was monitored from a distance for nearly 30 years.
Fiona Watson, the organization’s director of research and advocacy, writing about a visit to the man’s territory in 2005, said she was determined to avoid contact with outsiders and threw arrows at intruders as a warning. , said in one instance injured a man who worked for FUNAI. The man recovered quickly from his injuries, Watson said.
Much of his past was unknown, but he was believed to be the sole survivor of attacks on his tribe by gunmen employed by settlers and ranchers since the 1970s.
A man looks out from a straw hut he built himself. One organization said the man had avoided contact with other humans for decades after his tribe was killed. (Photo: Vincent Carelli_ Corumbiara)
“Outsiders knew very little about this man’s name, nor about his tribe. With his death, the genocide of his people was completed. It is the deliberate annihilation of all humankind by a rancher,” Watson said in a statement Sunday.
FUNAI said his body will undergo a forensic examination by federal police.
About 300 tribes live in Brazil today, according to Survival International, and the “Man of the Halls” were described as the only tribe in the entire country to live alone.
“He represented both the horrific violence and atrocities inflicted on indigenous peoples around the world in the name of colonization and profit, but also their resistance,” said Watson. “One can only imagine the horrors he witnessed in his life and the loneliness of his existence after the rest of his tribe was killed, but he resolutely resisted all attempts at contact and was alone. I have made it clear that I would like to be
One of the man’s straw huts can be seen in the clearing he made. (Photo: copyright – J Pessoa Survival International)
Watson warned that it could soon be completely wiped out if no further measures are taken to protect locals. She specifically pointed to Brazil’s far-right president Jair Bolsonaro and his long-standing efforts to benefit the country’s rainforests and indigenous peoples, including the Amazon rainforest forest since Bolsonaro took office in his 2019. Deforestation is on the rise.
Bolsanaro, who will be reelected in October, has recently made an effort to show that he’s taking environmental protection more seriously.In May, he increased fines for environmental crimes. This was previously opposed.
This follows his scramble to pass legislation earlier this year to legalize mining on indigenous reserves. As reported by Reuters, his legal pressure fell through in Congress amid concerns voters might not be happy with it in an election year.
Bolsanaro was sued last year by indigenous leaders who accused him of committing crimes against humanity over his policies towards indigenous peoples and the Amazon rainforest. The legal complaint cited increased deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon, the killing of Brazil’s indigenous leaders, and efforts by the Bolsonaro government to strip protection from rainforests and tribal lands.
This man was called “Man in the Hole” because of the deep holes he dug to catch and hide his prey. One of his holes is visible in the photo. (Photo: J Pessoa_Survival International)
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.