My First Contact
Living deep in the Brazilian Amazon forest, the Ikpeng first encountered an expedition of white men in 1964. Among the explorers where brothers Orlando and Claudio Villas-Bôas, who combined opening up the Amazon with a lifelong dedication to protecting its indigenous inhabitants against the inherent dangers that gold prospectors and other exponents of advancing white society brought.
In order to better protect their vulnerable health and culture, the Ikpeng agreed to be moved to the nearby Xingú reservation. Ever since, they’ve been living there together with several other communities with whom they were previously at war.
In My First Contact, archive images and excerpts from the Villas-Bôas brothers’ memoirs alternate with conversations in which the Ikpeng vividly evoke their own memories of that first encounter and the events that followed. The voluntary exile that possibly saved them from extinction also cut them off from their native ground. Forty years on, the Ikpeng are fighting a legal battle to reclaim their rights to the land of their ancestors.