At the time of European contact, some of the indigenous people were traditionally semi- nomadic tribes who subsisted on hunting , fishing , gathering and migrant agriculture. Many tribes suffered extinction as a consequence of the European settlement and many were assimilated into the Brazilian population. The indigenous population was decimated by European diseases, declining from a pre-Columbian high of millions to some , as of [update] , distributed among tribes. A somewhat dated linguistic survey  [ citation needed ] found living indigenous languages with , total speakers.
Shooting stills and video, Patrick and Sue Cunningham spent six months travelling the length of the Xingu River, in central Brazil. They visited 48 tribal villages, and met people from 17 ethnic groups. Because the area is home to some of the most belligerent Indians in the Amazon, it has so far suffered less than most from the depredations of modern man. But the 21st century is bringing intensive threats to the environmental and cultural integrity of the area. This video, a short extract of a longer documentary, highlights some of the threats, while celebrating the vitality and vibrancy of the diverse traditional tribal cultures found along the length of the river.
In the depths of the Amazon rainforest in Brazil live tribes who have no contact with the outside world. Illegal loggers and cattle ranchers are invading their land and bringing disease. Some uncontacted tribes are tragically down to their very last members. Here are some of the most threatened.
There are about tribes living in Brazil today, totaling around , people, or 0. Nearly all of this reserved land But although roughly half of all Brazilian Indians live outside the Amazon, these tribes only occupy 1. Maria Yanomami.