Colin Firth has teamed up with Survival International to call for people to take action against the illegal logging and violence wiping out the remaining few hundred Awá of the Brazilian Amazon. Survival International calls the Awá the "Earth's Most Threatened Tribe."
"The Awá's forest is being illegally cut for timber," says Firth in the video. "When the loggers see them, they kill them. Their bows and arrows are no match for guns. And at any other time in history, that's where it would end. Another people wiped off the face of the Earth, forever. But we're going to make sure the world doesn't let that happen.One man has the power to stop the loggers: Brazil’s Minister of Justice. But it’s just not his priority. Let’s push it up his list."
A series of articles in The Guardian reports on the factors that have led to the tribe's decline. With funding from Europe in 1982, a railway was built through the Awá's land in order to extract iron ore. Roads followed, and loggers and cattle ranchers used them to move inland and destroy forests. A third of the forest in Maranhão state in northeast Brazil has been wiped out. Diseases have wiped out many members of the tribe, and violence has wiped out others.
Photo Courtesy of Survival International
"I have talked to Awá people who have survived massacres," Fiona Watson, the research director of Survival International, told the AP. "I have interviewed Awá who have seen their families shot in front of them. There are immensely powerful people against them. The land-grabbers use pistoleros to clear the land. If this is not stopped now, these people could be wiped out. This is extinction taking place before our eyes."
For more on the Awá, read "Colin Firth Launches Campaign to Save 'World's Most Threatened Tribe'" and "'They're Killing Us:' World's Most Endangered Tribe's Cry for Help" in The Guardian, and check out Survival International's page on the Awá.