A US missionary has entered the land of an uncontacted tribe in Brazil, potentially putting them at risk from a number of diseases to which they may not be immune.
Last year, Jonathan Chau tired doing the same thing as he illegally entered the land of a tribe on an island in the Bay of Bengal.
Regrettably, Chau did not survive the contact as the tribe proved to be hostile and unwelcoming to outsiders.
Now, Steve Campbell, a Christian Missionary from Maine is believed to have illegally entered a protected part of the land in the Brazilian rainforest that’s inhabited by the Hi-Merimã tribe, an ancient tribe, and one of the area’s few remaining uncontacted tribes, as explained by Survival International.
Unlike Chau, Campbell made it out alive and is currently being questioned by Brazil’s indigenous affairs department FUNAI.
Experts say that Campbell could be in a lot of trouble if they find him guilty.
Bruno Pereira, the general coordinator at FUNAI, told Brazilian daily newspaper Folha de S.Paulo: “If it is established in the investigation that there was an interest in making contact… he could be charged with the crime of genocide by deliberately exposing the safety and life of the Hi-Merimã.”
Campbell defended his actions by saying that he did not want to contact the tribe directly. He says that he entered their land as it was the only way he could reach his destination, a tribe called the Jamamadi.
According to Survival International, “Campbell is reported in the Brazilian press to have entered the territory of the Hi-Merima tribe, using a local guide who had participated in a recent FUNAI expedition.”
It remains unclear whether or not Campbell made physical contact with the Hi-Merimã tribe.
“Even if direct contact has not occurred, the probability of transmission of diseases to the isolated is high,” a FUNAI spokesperson said in an interview with Reuters.
Stephen Corry, Survival International Director, concluded saying: “Fundamentalist Christian American missionaries must be stopped from this primitive urge to contact previously uncontacted tribes. It may lead to the martyrdom they seek, but it always ends up killing tribespeople.”