Society

Death of the world’s loneliest man spells the end of an entire people

The Man of the Hole, an isolated indigenous man who has been tracked and protected by the government for decades in the Amazon, has died — spelling the end of his people

hole indigenous
A rare image of the ‘Man of the Hole,’ who lived in Rondônia. Photo: Funai

Blurry, distant footage shows a thin, naked man hacking at a tree with an ax. The video, released in 2018 by Funai, Brazil’s indigenous foundation, consisted of the first record of the “Man of the Hole,” an indigenous man who lived in absolute isolation for almost three decades and was the last representative of his people.

He was found dead a week ago, without anyone ever being able to discover his name, his language, or his story. Even so, he has become a symbol of the resistance of uncontacted indigenous peoples across Brazil.

The man’s body showed no signs of...

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