The Unconquered: In Search of the Amazon's Last Uncontacted Tribes
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THE UNCONQUERED TELLS THE EXTRAORDINARY TRUE STORY OF A JOURNEY INTO THE DEEPEST RECESSES OF THE AMAZON TO TRACK ONE OF THE PLANET’S LAST UNCONTACTED IN DIGENOUS TRIBES.
Even today there remain tribes in the far reaches of the Amazon rainforest that have avoided contact with modern civilization. Deliberately hiding from the outside world, they are the unconquered, the last survivors of an ancient culture that predates the arrival of Columbus in the New World. In this gripping first-person account of adventure and survival, author Scott Wallace chronicles an expedition into the Amazon’s uncharted depths, discovering the rainforest’s secrets while moving ever closer to a possible encounter with one such tribe—the mysterious flecheiros, or “People of the Arrow,” seldom-glimpsed warriors known to repulse all intruders with showers of deadly arrows. On assignment for National Geographic, Wallace joins Brazilian explorer Sydney Possuelo at the head of a thirty-four-man team that ventures deep into the unknown in search of the tribe. Possuelo’s mission is to protect the Arrow People. But the information he needs to do so can only be gleaned by entering a world of permanent twilight beneath the forest canopy.
Danger lurks at every step as the expedition seeks out the Arrow People even while trying to avoid them. Along the way, Wallace uncovers clues as to who the Arrow People might be, how they have managed to endure as one of the last unconquered tribes, and why so much about them must remain shrouded in mystery if they are to survive. Laced with lessons from anthropology and the Amazon’s own convulsed 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.
From the Hardcover edition.
Soldado’s canoe to a temporary halt. The open field nearby, dotted with palms and young saplings, was to serve as the drop zone, and the whites and Kanamari were summoned to prepare signal fires to guide the airplane to its mark. Two fires were burning at either end of the field by the time I got there. Chico and José were tending the fire on the far side of the clearing. At the near end, Amarildo and Alfredo were stoking the pyre with green branches. Thick clouds of smoke drifted up through the
unrelenting quest to dominate nature and subdue its forests, now served our own, very contrary purpose—to establish unequivocally the presence of the Arrow People in these lands and bolster protection for both. No sooner had we cleared this obstacle than we came upon another. Again, Raimundo came forward with the chain saw. Muscles flexing, he braced the saw against his hip and opened a deep gash in the tree’s midsection. Two-thirds of the way through the tree, the machine came to an abrupt
aboard the Waiká, deemed a luxury that could not be justified when weighed against the priorities of food, medicine, and axes. I had secreted a single bottle for my private stash, which I intended to deploy only in strict emergencies. What such an emergency might look like, I did not yet know. Under the circumstances, the piums had to be regarded as a mere nuisance, unworthy of a dab of the precious liquid. “Scotchie!” called Ivan Arapá. “Come! Look!” He stood on the far side of a sand dune,
hoped, somewhere in the back of my mind, that I might get a chance to join one of his expeditions. That said, I really hadn’t thought about what it would be like to spend months in the backwoods under the command of a man of such uncompromising repute, who had so brazenly shrugged off threats on his life and had engineered a sea change in the way Brazil dealt with its aboriginal peoples. “I wouldn’t want to get on his bad side,” I said, laughing, with a quick snort. I crammed a bunch of dirty
the bucket like liquid amber, his hands and face black with angry, buzzing bees. But they had no stingers and could only swarm harmlessly while their nest was ransacked. The men converged in an excited mass on the pot, dipping in fingers and tin cups to get what they could, oblivious to the debris, chunks of nest and wax, and the twitching insects suspended in the nectar. It was the first treat we’d had in what seemed like weeks. A shot rolled in from the distance. “Ha!” Possuelo enthused.