213k readers

Indigenous Tribes from Around the World

Updated September 23, 2021 213k views18 items

Indigenous peoples of the world still live in some of the most isolated areas anywhere on earth, resisting contact with the outside world and staying free of societal influences. Uncontacted people live in a precarious balance, striving to maintain their own freedom while being threatened by an outside world they choose to avoid. Logging, ranching, oil exploration, gold mining, and tourism are all threats to indigenous tribes - meaning fewer of these tribes are able to survive.

When the outside world has made contact with these tribes, the results are often disastrous. Violent conflict with illegal loggers and gold prospectors has led to dozens of deaths, and since the tribespeople have no natural immunity, when they do make contact with settled societies, they are extremely vulnerable to common illnesses. There have also been incidents of tourists and photographers attack or shot with arrows by tribes who don't understand why they're being bothered. These tribes live in an increasingly dangerous position.

Here is a list of some of the most fascinating uncontacted peoples and interesting indigenous tribes still out there, and what we know about them at this point.
  • Ayoreo

    About 5,500 Ayoreo live on the border between Paraguay and Bolivia. While most have made contact with local authorities, there are still several hundred who are totally unknown, living in six to seven groups today. They are the only extant uncontacted tribes in South America not living in the Amazon. Three groups are in the Northern region of the Gran Chaco on the border of Bolivia and Paraguay in the areas of Médanos del Chaco National Park. The other three to four groups are in the Southern region of the territory. Their isolation is threatened by logging, oil expeditions, cattle ranching, and tourism.

  • Uncontacted Brazilian Tribes

    The rural state of Acre in Brazil contains at least four uncontacted tribes, totaling about 600 people. A small group made contact, stealing crops and tools, and frightening locals. The tribes are protected by law, but still have to deal with illegal ranching, cattle grazing, and oil exploration. The Brazilian government restricts contact with the tribes to protect them from disease, as many uncontacted tribesmen who emerge quickly get sick.

  • Jujurei

    The Jururei are a tiny uncontacted Indian tribe numbering only eight to 10 people, who live in the Parque Nacional Pakaas Novas in Rondônia State, Brazil. In 2005 their land was invaded by loggers who tried to wipe them out. It is not known how many of the tribespeople were killed in the conflict that followed. When Brazilian officials visited their only village, it was abandoned and huts were destroyed - and the fate of the tribespeople is unknown.
  • Carabayo

    The Carabayo are an uncontacted people of Colombia living in at least three long houses in Río Puré National Park in the southeastern corner of the country. They share the protected National Park with several contacted tribes.

    In the last 400 years, Carabayo people have had intermittent contact with outsiders, including violent attacks by slave traders and rubber extractors, resulting in their retreat from outside groups and increased isolation. In 2011, the Colombian government extended protections to people who chose to remain isolated.