Rare footage of an uncontacted tribe in the Amazon has emerged as activists try to save the group's homes from logging.

The vision shows a member of the Awa tribe holding what appears to be a machete in Maranhao state, eastern Brazil. It was released this week by Midia India, an indigenous filmmaking association, through the organisation Survival International, that champions the rights of tribal peoples.

"This video is further proof that the uncontacted Awá people really exist," Survival International director Stephen Corry said.

Uncontacted Awá in the Amazon © Mídia Índia from Survival International on Vimeo.

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The Awa live in the Arariboia Indigenous Territory with their relatives the Guajajara.

The neighbouring tribe filmed the video as proof of the Awa's existence, and it forms part of a 15-minute short film Ka'a Zar Ukize Wá — Forest Keepers in Danger about the Awa people.

The Guajajara are trying to protect the rainforest where the Awa live, as it is increasingly under threat from loggers and miners.

"We didn't have the Awá's permission to film, but we know that it's important to use these images because if we don't show them around the world, the Awá will be killed by loggers," Erisvan Guajajara of Midia India said.

"We're using these images as a cry for help, and we're calling for the Government to protect the lives of our relatives who don't want contact with outsiders."

Rare footage of Awa tribe in the Amazon has emerged. Photo / Survival International
Rare footage of Awa tribe in the Amazon has emerged. Photo / Survival International

Loggers have reportedly attacked the Awa, but some members of the tribe are believed to live uncontacted in the last significant areas of forest.

Survival International works with Guardians of the Amazon, which are trying to defend the area from logging and to protect uncontacted tribes.

"Three of our Guardians have been assassinated," Guardians of the Amazon co-ordinator Olimpio Guajajara said. "We need the land to be protected for good."

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Arariboia indigenous territory is an island of green surrounded by deforestation in Brazil. Photo / Google Earth
Arariboia indigenous territory is an island of green surrounded by deforestation in Brazil. Photo / Google Earth

The groups say logging of the Amazon has increased dramatically since Brazil's new President Jair Bolsonaro took office on January 1.

According to the New Scientist, satellite images show deforestation has increased to more than 3700 kilometres this year, an area about a fifth the size of Wales.

The world's greatest rainforest is a huge carbon sink, which helps the fight against climate change, and is home to many diverse species and about 400 indigenous groups.

"President Bolsonaro and his friends in the logging industry would like nothing more than for those who still survive to be eliminated," Corry said. "Only a global outcry stands between them and genocide."