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Brazil: Indio tribes in the Amazonas basin:

The well-fortified Corubos on the Yavari river - Mairuna indios, Marubo indios, Coruna indios in Benjamin Constant

An expedition of the Funai costs much but is for nothing

Film protocol from Michael Palomino (2003; translation)



from: On the traces to the Korubo indians; from: The night of the indians - the departure od the Kaiowa [orig.: Auf der Suche nach den Korubo-Indianern; aus: Die Nacht der Indianer - der Aufbruch der Kaiowa]; In: Norddeutsches Fernsehen N3 [Northern German Television N3], 14.12.2003, 2:55-3:40

The film protocol

The Corubos are said to be specially dangerous indios, living isolated in the Amazonian forests. The Funai (the indian organisation in Brazil) wants to get contact to them, but the Korubos refuse any contact.

Starting point of the expedition is Tabatinga in the cocain triangle of Peru, Brazil and Columbia.

Circumstances in Tabatinga: Drugs and wood
-- only drug dealing or illegal lumbering brings money for the indians living there
-- the indios living there have lost their culture and are impoverishing
-- poverty and alcohol are dominating
-- children are cleaning shoes, but most of the money they earn they have to give away for taxes
-- the wood from the virgin forest of the corubo indians is robbed in masses, for starvation wages
-- the bosses reign in the forest, not the government.

Trip to Benjamin Constant
-- Benjamin Constant is a lumbering village, the wood is cut in masses
-- if
for lumbering necessary indios are also killed who are fighting for the trees
-- robber economy is the main profession in Benjamin Constant
-- the trunks on the riverside are waiting for the rainy season so they will be transported easier to the lumber mill.

The result of the missionars: The destruction of the cultures in the Amazonas forest
-- there are Mairuna indios, Marubo indios, Coruna indios
-- there is a huge unemployment and poverty
-- add to this the indios become dependent from clothes [but it's always warm!]
-- money and alcohol are dominating, it's the total destruction of the cultures.

Casa do Indio [indian house] in Benjamin Constant: Miserable circumstances - poverty and illnesses
-- the "missionars" built a little hospital for the indians
-- this hospital has no medicine anymore
-- the children have malaria
-- the indians have an own medicine for the stupefaction, a frog secretion of a green frog, the secretion is rubbed and the effect is a trance, womiting and spasms.

The Corubos: So called cannibals and thiefs who are fighting for themselves - "animals"
-- the Corubos murder with cudgels and rumors say they would be cannibals
-- the Corubos murder other people who are working with the Funai indian organization
-- the Corubos board ships and murder if possible
-- the Corubos are making civil war against everybody who is entering their territory
-- the indios in Benjamin Constant say the Corubos are "animals".

The indians in Benjamin hate the Funai indian organization
The indians in Benjamin Constant forecast:

-- the money for the expedition to the Corubos would be thrown out down the drain
-- the expedition to the Corubos would only take place because of the ambition of the leader of the expedition, Posuelo, who wants to be the first one taking contact with the Corubo
-- add to this before starting the Funai expedition the Corubo send an extra fax that the expedition would be undesirable,  but the Funai is going on with the expedition under the leadership of Posuelo.

The expedition to the Corubo territory on the Yavari river
Posuelo means: When the Funai will expulse the foreign indians on the Corubo territory, so the Corubos will make peace with the Funai. So the next steps are these:

-- the expedition is going up the Yavari river, the border river between Brazil and Peru, until the beginning of the Corubo territory
-- from the border of the Corubo territory on the Funai orders foreign indians on the Yavari to drive away with their house boats
-- all the members of the Funai expedition get guns and ammunition
-- the Funai installs shields with "no entry" written on it against lumbering, chazing and fishing up from this point of the river, so it's a prohibition to work for all foreign indians.

Arara indios
-- in about 1980 the Arara indios also shot on the White with their arrows.

In the Corubo territory
Posuelo's order:
-- a whole fishing village of foreign indians has to disappear
-- the big fishing cutters have also to disappear
-- but the foreign indians tell that the Corubos have not lived on the riverside for years...

Posuelo about Corubo indios
The expedition is under way on foot:
-- ananas and bananas along the way would be a good sign
-- a gun or a cudgel along the way would be a bad sign
-- Posuelo wants to force the peace, he pulls the house boats away, but the house boats are the only thing "which humans possess here".

The Funai expedition in the jungle attracts the Corubos
-- the expedition is penetrating the dense jungle
-- there are marks from the Corubos: broken branches
-- the expedition places presents on trees
-- then the expedition is installating a camp, "the gun always in the reach"
-- there are foot traces detected.

Return to the Yavari river: Broken shields
-- the expedition is not followed up
-- on the return the expedition can see that the
shields with "no entry" written on it are destroyed and removed
-- the lumbermen are going on with their wood smuggling.

A second time in the camp in the jungle: Corubos accept "civilized goods" - clothes provoke illnesses
-- the Corubo show themselves, they are tattooed, naked and without guns
-- the expedition destributes "civilized goods"
-- clothes are destributed
-- commentator: Clothes harm to the indios because they will not be washed and so there are bacteria concentrated in the clothes and a vaccination of the indios the Funai has not in project, so the Funai is spreading illnesses!

Posuelo means that peace would be made now.

The Corubos murder a Funai worker - refusal of the "civilization"
Posuelo is wrong: 6 months later a Funai empolyee is slayed down by a cudgel. The Corubo do not want contact to the "civilization".

[and all the money is wasted for the expedition...].