EXPIRED: 10/01/09 – Ururú, 85, was the oldest member of the Akuntsu tribe of the Brazilian Amazon rainforest.
With her death, the tribe now has only 5 members left – and none of the women are of childbearing age any longer so the tribe will soon be extinct.
Ururú witnessed the genocide of her people and the destruction of their rainforest home, as cattle ranchers moved on to indigenous lands in Rondônia state in the 1960s and 70s.
With Ururú dies a large part of the historical memory of these people. The remaining tribe members say their family were killed when ranchers bulldozed their houses and opened fire on them. The two surviving men, Konibú and Pupak, have bullet scars on their bodies. In addition, Konibú, the oldest-surviving Akuntsu and Ururú’s brother, is seriously ill.
The Akuntsu live in one community, in two small malocas (communal houses) made of straw. They are keen hunters – wild pig and tapir are all prized – and cultivate small gardens where they grow manioc and corn. They also gather forest fruits and sometimes catch small fish in the creeks.
The story of the Akuntsu, their neighbors the Kanoê, and the elusive “Man of the Hole” is told in a new Brazilian film, Corumbiara and in the short film, Uncontacted Tribes.