By Alexander Greensmith
THIS DARING photographer has managed to snap pictures of an infamous South American tribe who MURDERED FIVE AMERICANS over SIXTY YEARS AGO.
Stunning shots of the indigenous Ecuadorians show killer instinct as one man wields a six-foot spear, a chef regurgitates undercooked food into a metal pan, and a nude tribesman smiles with a wild pig he has hunted.
The Huaorani tribe, which are known to hunt monkeys with poisonous blowguns, exclusively live in the Amazon rainforest. It is thought the Huaorani language is isolated, with no related local languages.
While the tribe have embraced the use of hunting rifles, they live a simple technology-free life in small forest settlements.
The Huaoranis received global attention in 1956 after killing five American men who tried to convert the tribe to Christianity. In recent times, deforestation has caused the Huaoranis to move further into the forests, but their water supply is still ravaged with pollution from nearby oil operations.
The incredible images were snapped by photographer, Václav Šilha (56) from Prague, Czech Republic.
“They live a simple life, they are mostly hunters and gatherers. Some men remain fierce warriors,” said Václav.
“I was amazed by the power of their traditions, knowledge of nature and their feeling of community.
“The word Huaorani in translation means human beings and I must say that they were some of the most beloved people I have ever met.
“To this day, there is a very small group of members of this ethnic group who reject, very aggressively, any contact with the outside world.
“Oil and mining companies mean their way of life is changing year after year.
“Since 1956 a lot of time has passed, and today some are using a lot of modern technologies such as motorboat, chainsaw, satellite phone.
“For thousands of years, they have gathered their knowledge of nature. But over the last few decades, young people have lost this knowledge.
“When I asked a group of boys to make a fire by rubbing the lines together, they were no longer able to do it without a lighter.”
The Huaorani were first discovered by Shell Oil employees in the late 1940s. The Ecuadorian government continue to encroach on their land to drill for the fossil fuel.
Their first peaceful contact with outsiders – or ‘cowodi’ as the tribe call them – was in 1958.
Václav took the spectacular set of shots on a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV.
“I visited Huaorani with a local guide the tribe knew, and so I was fortunately warmly welcomed,” said Václav.
“I didn´t show them the pictures and during the time I spent there, I tried to be the least disturbing as possible for them to give them space to behave completely naturally.”