Isolated for 26 years: ‘Man of the Hole,’ the last member of indigenous tribe, dies

Twenty-six years of isolation.  

A man who was the last living member of an indigenous tribe in Brazil has died, the country’s Indigenous agency confirmed.  

The man was known as the “Man of the Hole” because he would construct deep holes, including some with spikes in them to catch animals, according to Survival International, an organization focused on tribal rights. He also dug holes inside homes and structures to protect himself, the organization previously said.  

The man was the only person who lived in the Tanaru Indigenous Territory in Brazil’s Rondonia state. The state is located in the western part of the Brazilian Amazon. He lived in isolation for an estimated 26 years, according to multiple reports.  

A still from a video of “The Man of the Hole” chopping a tree

Funai, Brazil’s indigenous agency, confirmed the man’s body was found by officials in a hammock last week. The agency said there were not signs of violence, and officials currently believe he died of natural causes.  

The man’s fellow tribe members were attacked beginning in the 1970s according to Survival International. The “Tanaru territory stands as a small island of forest in a sea of vast cattle ranches, in one of the most violent regions in Brazil,” the organization explained in a statement on Sunday. 

One of The Man of the Hole's huts.
A hole that “The Man of the Hole” dug inside a hut.

Fiona Watson, Survival International’s research and advocacy director, accused cattle ranchers in the area of “wiping out of an entire people” in the organization’s statement following the man’s death.   

In 1995, the six other remaining members of the man’s tribe were killed, the BBC reported.  

The man was filmed by a government team in 2018, appearing to chop into a tree.