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The Last of the Hiding Tribes Series
Fragments of a People

Frantic efforts to find the Ava-Canoeiro before their land is flooded for a new dam.

A printer-friendly version of this page 50 minutes
Directed by Adrian Cowell
Produced by Nomad Films Ltd
A Nomad Film production for Channel Four

In 1983 four members of the Ava-Canoeiro tribe - three women and a man, Iawi - were caught stealing food from a settler in the Serra de Mesa and taken into care by Brazil's Indian Protection Service. They were, it became clear, the survivors of a horrific massacre in their village in 1962. For twenty years the four hid in the mountains, taking refuge in a succession of remote caves. Only one of the women, Tuia, was of child-bearing age, and after a few years she gave birth to twins - a boy and a girl. But unless another group of Ava-Canoeiro, rumored to be out in the scrubland, can be contacted to provide potential mates for the two children, the tribe, descendants of runaway slaves from the once feared Carijo tribe, is doomed to extinction.

The film chronicles the frantic efforts by the Indian Foundation's Department for Unknown Peoples to find the missing group before their ancestral lands are drowned by a massive hydro-electric dam.

Other titles in the series are:

Return from Extinction - The Panara return to their ancestral forest home.

The Fate of the Kidnapper - The cycle of revenge following first contact with the Uru Eu Wau Wau.

Grade Level: 9-12, College, Adult
US Release Date: 1999     Copyright Date: 1999
DVD ISBN: 1-59458-689-6     VHS ISBN: 1-56029-796-4

"Beautiful and sad film."
(London) Times

"Documentaries do not come better than this."
The (London) Times

"Adrian Cowell's trilogy was 30 years in the making and it's been worth the wait...the denouement plays out like Jacobean tragedy no less gripping."
Time Out

"A powerful documentary series about the Amazonian Indians, may prove to be one of the last records of their way of life."
(London) Independent on Sunday

"The films are about contact and about the destruction and absorption of weaker peoples by more powerful ones, a story perhaps as old as humankind...They focus on the accounts of particular individuals, native and European Brazilian and present us with an extraordinary opportunity to get to know the indigenous people and the drama of their lives in a very personal way....(T)hey are particularly successful in avoiding demonizing the penetrators and their society or of playing on the emotions of the viewer with nostalgia about a soon-to-be-lost native way of life. "
he Last of the Hiding Tribes" are very pragmatic, very human films."
Alan Duben, Human Ecology

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Fragments of a People

"Beautiful and sad film." The Times (London)

Awards and Festivals
Latin American Studies Association Award of Merit in Film

Developing World
Forests and Rainforests
Human Rights
Indigenous Peoples
Latin American Studies

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The Dani and the Asmat come face to face with the modern world in Irian Jaya.

Banking on Disaster
The grave consequences of building a road through the heart of Amazonia.

... more Reviews

"An extraordinary achievement."
The Geographical

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