Protecting the Last Tribes

Sydney Possuelo
Sydney Possuelo is the main protagonist in the book The Unconquered: In Search of the Amazon’s Last Uncontacted Tribes (2011) by National Geographic writer, Scott Wallace. The book, see trailer below, details a 76-day expedition in 2002 led by Possuelo to find the “Arrow People,” an uncontacted tribe in the Vale do Javari Indigenous Land.
Possuelo is possibly the most famous of the sertanistas, the men who make a living by conducting dangerous first-contact missions with remote indigenous peoples of the Amazon. Up until 2006, he was the head of the National Indian Foundation of Brazil (FUNAI) where he had helped drmatically expand the land officially designated as indigenous land in Brazil. But his criticism of the director who had cliamed the Brazilian Indians held too much land, led to his dismissal. He continued his work with the NGO Instituto Indigenista Interamericano.

Book promotion: “On assignment for National Geographic, author Scott Wallace joins the brooding and charismatic explorer Sydney Possuelo on a quixotic mission: penetrate the jungle redoubts of the Arrow People, gather crucial information about them, and return to civilization without contacting the tribe. The Unconquered“As head of Brazil’s Department of Isolated Indians, Possuelo seeks to protect the Arrow People and their rainforest homeland from the ravages of the advancing frontier. But the information he needs to safeguard them can only be gleaned by entering a world of darkness and danger beneath the forest canopy, to seek out the untamed tribesmen while at the same time trying to avoid them.

“Laced with lessons from anthropology and the sweep of history, and boasting a Conradian cast of unforgettable characters—all driven by a passion to preserve the wild, but also wracked by fear, suspicion, and the desperate need to make it home alive—THE UNCONQUERED reveals this critical battleground in the fight to save the planet as it has rarely been seen, wrapped in a page-turning tale of adventure.”