Of course. Of COURSE there is a group of Evangelical Christian missionaries trying to contact Indigenous Amazonian tribes with a helicopter mid coronavirus. Why is 2020 a constant-running horror movie of shitty and absurd situations?
Ethnos360 is a group of evangelical Christian missionaries who have just bought a helicopter so they can contact (convert) Indigenous Tribes in Brazil’s Amazon, even though coronavirus cases in Brazil are spreading really fast.
Obviously, their plan is fucked up. It’s been banned by both the constitution and by FUNAI, Brazil’s Indigenous agency for ample reason, the most obvious being the fact that Indigenous tribes don’t have immunity or resistance to lots of disease that our own societies are absolutely riddled with.
Despite there being over 300 reported cases of #Coronavirus in Brazil, the evangelical New Tribes Mission has purchased a helicopter that it plans to use force contact and conversions amongst uncontacted #Indigenous peoples in the Amazon. Despicable.https://t.co/Fvf77kekJw
— Stephen Corry (@StephenCorrySvl) March 18, 2020
Considering that our own far more exposed populations are yet to build an immunity to this virus that has killed thousands, there’s definitely real concern about the devastating impact the coronavirus could have on isolated Indigenous populations.
Christian missionaries have a dark history with Amazonian isolated tribes. After several visits from Ethnos360 (then called New Tribes Mission), the Zo’é tribe lost around 45 members to malaria and influenza in just a couple of years – because yes, Westerners carry diseases which Indigenous tribes don’t have resistance to. Which is exactly what happened when white people colonised Australia and America.
This is genocide.
— Nonprofits need a #COVID19 bail out (@jwbussmann) March 23, 2020
More infamously, New Tribes Mission had a member called Warren Scott Kennel, who sexually abused young Indigenous girls in his time being a missionary when living with the Katukina.
Basically, people (specifically Christian missionaries) need to stop fucking with Indigenous Amazonian tribes. All it does is bring disease and abuse to them, and they’re far safer if they’re left alone. As they should be.
This is seriously scary. These tribes will have no immunity to any diseases being inadvertently introduced. Why do outsiders have to interfere? Rhetorical…
— Rosie Stewart-Stent (@RosemaryStewar1) March 19, 2020
Anyway, back to Ethnos360 (who are New Tribes Mission but with a new name) and this goddamn helicopter.
The story sounds ridiculous, but it’s really fucking sinister when you recall that right-wing Christian Brazilian president Bolsonaro appointed an ex-missionary who was literally part of New Tribes Mission to become the head of a department that’s in charge of contact with isolated Indigenous tribes.
Bolsonaro has previously expressed a pretty derogatory and racist attitude towards Indigenous tribes, once saying “increasingly becoming human beings just like us.” You know, because they aren’t human beings already or something.
Evangelical missionaries ARE a deadly disease. They commit cultural genocide.
— Linda of Windy Oaks (@LindaofWindyOak) March 23, 2020
In case you wanted further proof of Bolsonaro’s racism towards Indigenous people, he literally said “It’s a shame the Brazilian cavalry [wasn’t] as efficient as the Americans, who exterminated the Indians.”
With a right-wing, racist Christian as President, who is also appointing other racist right-wing Christians all throughout the government, there’s genuine fear about the future of Isolated Indigenous tribes, with many fearing the possibility of genocide.
Yeah you &^%$*&# bet we’re outraged about planned ethnocide of indigenous peoples.
🗣️Brazil needs to keep #Ethnos360 out of ALL indigenous territories. #COVID19 #Coronavirus https://t.co/bhdQoEZ2HS
— Amazon Watch (@amazonwatch) March 20, 2020
And then when you compound that with the risk of coronavirus, shit is truly frightening. At the moment, Indigenous rights activists, anthropologists and scientists are fighting for the maintained voluntary isolation of these tribes – hopefully, they win.
Check out the Twitter account for Survival – a movement for tribal people. If you want to read more about Ethnos360 trying to infiltrate Indigenous tribes, check out this really great article by a Brazilian journalist that basically sums it all up.
Image Sources: Twitter, Wikimedia Commons: Acre, AC