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Brazil accuses US missionary of putting isolated tribe at risk


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Brazil’s indigenous affairs department (Funai) has accused an American missionary of exposing an isolated indigenous tribe to disease and possibly death.

Steve Campbell, a Christian missionary, entered the area occupied by the Hi-Merimã tribe last month, one of the few dozen tribes in Brazil that has had no contact with the outside world.

“It’s a case of rights violation and exposure to risk of death to isolated indigenous population,” a Funai spokesman said in a written statement to Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“Even if direct contact has not occurred, the probability of transmission of diseases to the isolated is high.”

Experts have warned that there is an increasing likelihood of missionaries trying to contact isolated tribes in Brazil after the country’s new president, Jair Bolsonaro, appointed an evangelical preacher as the new minister in charge of indigenous affairs.

During his campaign, Bolsonaro pledged to open up protected land and demarcate “not one centimeter” for indigenous people or quilombolas – descendants of runaway slaves.

Campbell camped in the area the Hi-Merimã occupy and invaded one of the isolated tribe’s recently abandoned camping grounds, Funai said.

Attempts to reach Campbell were unsuccessful.

Little is known about the Hi-Merimã, who live in the state of Amazonas.

They became known for rejecting contact with the outside world and maintaining hostile relations even with other indigenous communities.

Details about what kind of penalties Campbell may face are not clear, as Funai has not yet notified federal prosecutors or the police. The government agency said it will notify them this week.

According to reports from Brazilian newspaper Folha de São Paulo, Campbell claimed to have entered the area by mistake, while teaching Indians from the neighbouring Jamamadi tribe to use a GPS device.

Campbell has been living among the Jamamadi for years, but received no authorisation to do so, according to Funai.

About two months ago another American Christian missionary was killed after trying to contact an isolated tribe on an island in the Bay of Bengal.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jan/23/brazil-us-missionary-isolated-tribe-lives-at-risk-steve-campbell

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Oh, dear.  Another one.

And, from the article, this is depressing:

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Steve Campbell, a Christian missionary, entered the area occupied by the Hi-Merimã tribe last month, one of the few dozen tribes in Brazil that has had no contact with the outside world.

“It’s a case of rights violation and exposure to risk of death to isolated indigenous population,” a Funai spokesman said in a written statement to Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“Even if direct contact has not occurred, the probability of transmission of diseases to the isolated is high.”

Experts have warned that there is an increasing likelihood of missionaries trying to contact isolated tribes in Brazil after the country’s new president, Jair Bolsonaro, appointed an evangelical preacher as the new minister in charge of indigenous affairs.

During his campaign, Bolsonaro pledged to open up protected land and demarcate “not one centimeter” for indigenous people or quilombolas – descendants of runaway slaves.

Campbell camped in the area the Hi-Merimã occupy and invaded one of the isolated tribe’s recently abandoned camping grounds, Funai said.

Attempts to reach Campbell were unsuccessful.

 

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And I found Campbell's Sending Church.  http://greenebaptist.org/missions.html

When I first saw it a couple of hours ago it had four sets of missionary couples listed by name.  Now the main page claims to be "under construction" and the list of missionaries is gone.

Damage control.

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But of course it was just an accident.  Blame his GPS.  

I called this back on the Chau thread.  "Missionaries" going rogue for fame, if not martyrdom.

And the Greene Baptist Church has already been identified so taking down all the missionary names looks stupid as well as like a guilty conscience.  Perhaps the others are all preparing to commit genocide too.

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Campbell could be charged with “genocide” as a result of his actions, UNAI’s general coordinator, Bruno Pereira, said, as reported by the Fraser Coast Chronicle.

“If it is established in the investigation that there was an interest in making contact, using his relationship with other [tribespeople] to approach the isolated [Hi-Merimã tribe], he could be charged with the crime of genocide by deliberately exposing the safety and life of the Merimãs,” said Pereira.

According to the Greene Baptist Church website, Campbell works as a missionary alongside his wife, Robin, and their two children.

“Steve and Robin work with the Jamamadi Indians in the Brazilian state of Amazonas,” notes the family's bio. “Their work is to help with medical, mechanical and countless other ministry opportunities with the Indians and missionary families. This frees up Jon so he can focus on translating God's word into their language.”

https://www.christianpost.com/news/christian-missionary-could-be-tried-for-genocide-after-mistakenly-entering-land-of-remote-tribe.html

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I am not surprised. I am extremely disappointed and disgusted, but not surprised.  Unfortunately, I think that this is just the beginning.  There are probably not that many isolated tribes, but they need to be LEFT ALONE.  This makes me extremely angry.  They have done nothing but live their lives and they are in so much danger already.

Edited by Briefly
spelling and wrong word used
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This makes me so damn FURIOUS ?

I know there were Christians calling that dimwit in the Andaman Islands a "martyr" and crap like that but besides the arrogance, implied superiority, and conquering-perspective that these idiots take- you are literally showing that these human lives that you so desperately want to 'save' with your God and Bible are so meaningless to you that you're willing to kill them all before they can even possibly understand what you're trying to communicate! ??

I come from an indigenous background. This spread of disease and genocide happened a few generations before I was born in my country but even so, my mother and both of my grandparents were forcibly removed from their families. Many other family members were too. In the oral history of my maternal grandfather's people, they talk about what roughly translates to the "great death" (the genocide of murder and disease and poisoning of watering holes etc when the 'settlers' came) and then the "great loss", which was taking there children and not being able to openly practice our culture. 

My life, even being born in the late 1980s, has been scarred by the crimes committed against my people. My youngest maternal half-sibling is 2-years-old now and his life has been altered and shaped by those crimes too. 

And even take away all the factual and ethical issues with judging an indigenous culture to be deficient, it doesn't even make any sense to try and infiltrate these uncontacted people (as is suddenly a trend apparently). You can't convert people that you can't communicate with and you sure as hell can't covert people who are dead and you can't convert anyone if you are dead. 

I wish I could completely articulate the fury that I feel but I can't find words that sufficiently communicate my emotions right now.

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And the church must have seen it was too late for damage control.  The missionary mug shots are back: http://www.greenebaptist.org/missionscorner/ourmissionaries.html

Greene Baptist seems to be a supporting church not the Sending Church.  

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According to Brazilian newspaper Folha de São Paulo, Campbell told investigators he had made the expedition at the invitation of the Jamamadis Indians, so that he could teach them to use GPS. Campbell reportedly said he only passed through the territory of the Hi-Merimã because it was the only way to reach his destination.

The Hi-Merimã, according to Wikipedia, number 1,000 and largely exist without contact from outside society.

Campbell, who has lived among the Jamamadis Indians in that region since 1963, is one of several missionaries who receive support from the Greene Baptist Church. The church also supports nearly a dozen other missionaries working in areas that include Kenya, Poland and Ireland. Those missionaries are not employed by the church.

 

https://www.sunjournal.com/2019/01/25/ties-to-maine-missionary-in-trouble-with-brazilian-government/

If he has lived there since 1963 he should have known better.  I hope the prosecute him.

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I do not have an issue with missionary work when there is actually something done to help the population (a clinic where there was none, clean drinking water, a bridge, Heifer International (love them) or something similar).  Where the indigenous population is empowered to farm a bit more than subsistence and vaccinate their kids.  Or  a rescue mission that feeds the homeless and houses & clothes them.  But this guy is a criminal IMNSHO. 

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Hello, brazilian here *waves*

 

Hope this dude gets royally fucked. We have enough of our own fundies trying to take over with the cult, erm, Assembléia de Deus evangelical churches and a crazy president who believes in teocracy and used “God above all” in his campaign slogan. We don’t need help from the outside to try coverting indigenous people and maintain prejudice against Candomblé praticioners. 

Also, indigenous brazilians are facing a real risk of genocide and are getting killed and having their land stolen. Our very own president said he won’t give a piece of land to them (even those that are, by law, theirs and should be protected) and will hand it over to farmers instead. Just fuck off. 

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Judging from the missionary mug shots, it looks like "God's work" is a multi-generational scam.

Hope that they follow through with prosecuting Steve Campbell. He's not a fucking tourist -- he had to have known about these restrictions.

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2 hours ago, hoipolloi said:

Judging from the missionary mug shots, it looks like "God's work" is a multi-generational scam.

Hope that they follow through with prosecuting Steve Campbell. He's not a fucking tourist -- he had to have known about these restrictions.

Yes.  Looks as though the family has been embedded there like ticks since 1963.

And that Steve Campbell was arrogant enough to have taken a short cut through Hi-Merimã territory because he thinks the rules don't apply to him.  Time to throw the book at him.  He's probably done it before.

1 hour ago, Howl said:

Wonder if Greene Baptist knows about John Shrader.  They seem like a good fit.  

Shrader would think they are the wrong sort of Christian.  But John thinks everyone is the wrong sort of Christian.

Greene Baptist doesn't smell IFB or Trail of Blood Historic Biblical Baptist to me.  It is almost respectable.

It just shows how much mission work is (over) valued in Fungelical culture.  Mom and Pop Campbell are back in TX and work for Wycliffe https://www.wycliffe.org/about/why.  And the other son, Jonathan, is also back there busily translating the Bible into Jamamadi, along with his wife Rosa. 

Edited by Palimpsest
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