November 5, 1998
Thirteen die in clash in Brazil Indian territory

                  BRASILIA, Nov 4 (Reuters) - Isolated Brazilian Indians killed 11 wildcat
                  gold miners in a remote jungle region near Surinam in retaliation for a fire in
                  which an Indian woman and child died, the government's Indian Foundation
                  said on Wednesday.

                  The clash in the Tumucumaque reservation, which straddles the northern
                  Brazilian states of Para and Amapa, took place in the early hours of
                  Tuesday, said an official at the regional headquarters of the Indian
                  Foundation (FUNAI) in Amapa.

                  The illegal miners, known as "garimpeiros," set fire to a village inhabited by
                  an unknown tribe who had no previous contact with the outside world,
                  according to a radio report from an indigenous post inside the reservation.

                  "We got a radio message from the Aparai village post, saying that
                  garimpeiros had set fire to a village of isolated Indians," FUNAI official
                  Moises Silva told Reuters by telephone from Macapa, the capital of Amapa

                  During the confrontation, the Indians are said to have killed 11 miners and
                  injured two. An Indian woman and child reportedly died when their hut was
                  set ablaze, the official said.

                  "These are Indians who have yet to be contacted, who are isolated. We
                  don't know which tribe they belong to," he added.

                  The Justice Ministry has sent a team of federal police investigators to the
                  distant region, which is only accessible by plane and boat, a ministry
                  spokesman said.

                  It was the first known clash between miners and indigenous residents of the
                  Tumucumaque region, a demarcated Indian territory believed to be rich in
                  gold deposits, Silva said.

                  The government evicted three garimpeiros who became lost in the jungle
                  there in 1992, and another three who were prospecting for gold in 1993, but
                  all left peacefully, he said.

                  The territory stretches over 3 million hectares (7.4 million acres) and is home
                  to around 2,700 Indians of the Wayana, Aparai, Tiriyo, Kaxuyana and
                  Hixkaryana tribes as well as an undetermined number of isolated Indians,
                  according to Silva.

                  Indigenous peoples now make up just 330,000 of a total Brazilian
                  population of 160 million, down from around 5 million when Portuguese
                  colonisers arrived in 1500.

                  Researchers have identified 215 tribes and 180 languages, but an unknown
                  number of Indians have been driven deep into remote jungle areas by
                  loggers and miners illegally encroaching on their reservations.

                  In many cases, the outsiders have brought with them diseases like malaria
                  and tuberculosis and introduced guns, prostitution and alcoholism into the
                  isolated communities.

                  There are two indigenous posts and a Franciscan mission inside the
                  Tumucumaque reservation, but FUNAI has made no efforts so far to
                  establish contact with the most isolated tribes.

                  Such expeditions can be dangerous, as Indians who have never met
                  outsiders consider all newcomers to be enemies and react violently to any
                  perceived aggression, officials say.

                  "People end up going there anyway, without authorisation," said Silva. "This
                  is the first time they have found (this tribe).

                  If they had not found them, they would have remained in their own world,
                  which would have been better."

                  If they had not found them, they would have remained in their own world,
                  which would have been better."

                  Copyright 1998 Reuters Limited.