Direitos Indígenas

Brazilian Indians About 300 young people from the Tupinambá, Pataxó Hã-Hã-Hãe, Pataxó and Tuxá (state of Bahia), Tupinikim (state of Espírito Santo) and Xukuru (state of Pernambuco) peoples gathered at the 3rd seminar of Tupinambá young people at Serra do Padeiro in the state of Bahia from August 31 to September 2.


The Tupinambá people have strengthened their struggle and have been encouraging its young people to organize themselves.


Based on the theme “Organized Youth, Strengthened Community,” the meeting discussed the following topics: organization of young people, demarcation of indigenous territories, public policies and challenges faced by the indigenous young people.


“The seminar was successful. Young people participated in it actively and contributed to discussions on topics related to the daily reality faced in the villages,” evaluated Magno Santos, a young Tupinambá, one of the event organizers.


As a result of this articulation, a committee made up of nine young people from three villages located in the south region of the state of Bahia was created.


The first activity of this committee will take place on September 21 at Monte Pascoal, when a “Letter of Young Indigenous People” will be drawn up to be sent to both state governments and to the federal government with proposals and claims from young people of the region.


One of the most discussed topics in the seminar and which will be included in the letter is the demarcation of the Tupinambá land.


“We decided that if Funai doesn’t solve this problem, indigenous young people will demarcate the territory themselves,” declared Magno.


Challenges faced by these  young people today, such as pregnancy during adolescence, sexually transmitted diseases, and drug and alcohol abuse also drew the attention of the participants.


“We want the government to take a policy position in relation to these issues,” said the Tupinambá youth.


An important victory of the youth organization was a proposal to set up a committee of young indigenous people to join the Apoinme (Cooperation of Indigenous Peoples from the Northeast region, the state of Minas Gerais and the state of Espírito Santos.)


Representatives from Apoinme who were present at the seminar said that, from next year on, this committee will become part of the entity.


CIMI – Indianist Missionary Council


From August 31 to September 2, around 300 young people from the Tupinambá, Pataxó Hã-Hã-Hãe, Pataxó and Tuxá (state of Bahia), Tupinikim (state of Espírito Santo) and Xukuru (state of Pernambuco) peoples gathered at the 3rd seminar of Tupinambá young people at Serra do Padeiro in the state of Bahia, Brazil.


The Tupinambá (also known as the Tupi) have recently begun strengthening their struggle, encouraging its young people to organize themselves.


Based on the theme “Organized Youth, Strengthened Community,” the youth naturally focused on matters of organization, aswell as topics like public policies and health issues.They also spent a great deal of time talking about the demarcation of indigenous Territory….


From Brazzil Mag – “The seminar was successful. Young people participated in it actively and contributed to discussions on topics related to the daily reality faced in the villages,” evaluated Magno Santos, a young Tupinambá, one of the event organizers.


As a result of this articulation, a committee made up of nine young people from three villages located in the south region of the state of Bahia was created.


The first activity of this committee will take place on September 21 at Monte Pascoal, when a “Letter of Young Indigenous People” will be drawn up to be sent to both state governments and to the federal government with proposals and claims from young people of the region.


One of the most discussed topics in the seminar and which will be included in the letter is the demarcation of the Tupinambá land.


“We decided that if Funai doesn’t solve this problem, indigenous young people will demarcate the territory themselves,” declared Magno.


Challenges faced by these young people today, such as pregnancy during adolescence, sexually transmitted diseases, and drug and alcohol abuse also drew the attention of the participants.


“We want the government to take a policy position in relation to these issues,” said the Tupinambá youth.


An important victory of the youth organization was a proposal to set up a committee of young indigenous people to join the Apoinme (Cooperation of Indigenous Peoples from the Northeast region, the state of Minas Gerais and the state of Espírito Santos.)

Representatives from Apoinme who were present at the seminar said that, from next year on, this committee will become part of the entity.

in  BrazzilMag


Indian leaders in Brazil are voicing their opposition to a draft law which if approved will allow mining in indigenous territories.

Davi Yanomami spoke recently to a Survival researcher by telephone from the Yanomami organisation, Hutukara.


‘I am very worried about the mining law. It will destroy our heartland. We use the water that flows through Yanomami land for drinking, cooking, washing and bathing.


‘I want to publicise this more and let everyone know what we are up against.


‘They offer us a bit of money but this is a sop. The Brazilian government will not help us. Once again they want to finish with my people, because they think mining is king. But mining will bring us disease, alcohol and pollution.

‘You who live far away please spread our message – there is another fight going on for our Yanomami land. Our land is recognised – the whole world knows this and the name Yanomami. But now the Lula government is ruining our land once again, even though it’s demarcated. The miners are being encouraged to invade and this is a crime.’

in Survival International

 Indigenous People Challenge Peru’s Soy Highway

An Interview with Julio Cusurichi

 Zachary Hurwitz | August 31, 2007

Americas Program, Center for International Policy (CIP)

The Initiative for the Regional Integration of Infrastructure in South America (IIRSA) is the latest in a series of disastrous international bank-financed schemes to bring “development” to the Amazon basin. Launched in 2000 by the governments of the region and taking advantage of a confluence of regional financing from major international finance institutions, IIRSA contains 350 projects that include ecologically damaging highway, dam, pipeline, and port projects. Many of these will open up new areas to large-scale, export-oriented agricultural production and energy extraction in the Amazon basin. The following is an interview with 2007 Goldman Environmental Prize winner Julio Cusurichi, representative of the Federación Nativa de Madre de Dios (FENAMAD).

A set of megaprojects of such size and reach offers the opportunity to reexamine the question of what “development” really means, who creates it, and who benefits from it. IIRSA is a new chapter in the decades-long history of top-down development decisions bankrolled by International Financial Institutions (IFIs) that are in the business of recycling international capital in order to create incentives for further corporate expansion and growth.

Historically, infrastructure megaprojects bankrolled by IFIs in areas like the tropical forests of the Amazon have led to increased poverty, displacement, exposure to disease vectors, cultural erosion, and violent conflicts for indigenous peoples. Nonetheless, South American governments and international banks have paid little attention to the voices of civil society and indigenous peoples whose lives will be directly and adversely affected by the construction of these projects.

The Interoceanic Sur highway in Madre de Dios, Peru is designed to increase transport of Brazilian soy to the Pacific coast, where it will be shipped to Asian markets for use as feed grain and in biodiesel production. The road, already under construction, is one of the 31 first-stage IIRSA projects scheduled for completion by the year 2010. The highway is financed by the Andean Development Corporation (CAF), the Brazilian National Development Bank (BNDES), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), and the Peruvian government.

The highway opens up areas of the Peruvian Amazon formerly closed to corporate agriculture and energy interests. It also opens up a Pandora’s Box of issues surrounding the costs and benefits of road construction in the Amazon basin. For some, the highway represents a greater opportunity for smallholders, campesinos, and indigenous peoples to get their goods to market and receive exported goods from areas such as Cuzco and Rio Branco, Brazil. For others, the road will increase the pressure from expanding agribusiness and energy corporations on land held by already vulnerable peasant farmers and indigenous peoples in voluntary isolation.

Eighty percent of the entire Peruvian Amazon is now open to bidding from oil companies from across the world. Hunt Oil of Texas has acquired the concession for block 76, almost entirely superimposed upon the recently-created Amarakaeri Communal Reserve.

In an interview in Puerto Maldonado, 2007 Goldman Environmental Prize winner and representative of the Federación Nativa de Madre de Dios, Julio Cusurichi tells of the impacts of IIRSA’s Interoceanic Sur highway, expansion of agribusiness, and increased oil extraction for the indigenous peoples of Madre de Dios, Peru. Cusurichi notes that the construction of the Interoceanic Sur will follow in the tradition of destructive highway projects in the Amazon if larger issues such as the urgent need for legal recognition of indigenous peoples and demarcation of their territories, clear economic and ecological zoning laws, integral social and environmental impact studies, and development plans to benefit the local populations are not attended to first.

ZH: Julio, tell us about the Interoceanic Sur highway—how is it going to affect the indigenous peoples of the province of Madre de Dios?

JC: The Interoceanic is going to be a threat more than a benefit for indigenous people, because the Interoceanic cannot be separated from its larger context, which is IIRSA. And IIRSA isn’t just the Interoceanic, it contains projects for the entire Amazon basin. But the Interoceanic worries us as indigenous people since, for one, the regional populations are simply uninformed about the projects … The majority of people don’t have any idea of the effects that this Interoceanic highway is going to have.

One important point has to do with legal land titles for indigenous territories. If we don’t guarantee judicial security for our lands, we will be exposed to large waves of migration that will come in over this road to get lands. So if our regional and national governments don’t have a vision of how to guarantee the rights of the territories of indigenous people, we’re going to have a serious threat.

The other important point is the environmental impact. We’ve learned that in the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of the Interoceanic, only a few areas are considered. There are zones that will be affected directly but also zones affected indirectly. They’ve created a barrier of three kilometers from the road to prevent environmental impacts, but the impacts won’t be felt only within those three kilometers. Environmental impacts are felt at a regional level. So, they’re fulfilling their obligation to the norm that regulates directly affected zones, but this norm does not reflect the reality of regional impacts. This study, if they limit themselves to the norm, will not take into account the regional situation.

On the matter of agriculture, specifically cattle ranchers, a lot of people have already acquired land titles. If the government doesn’t take into account the need to grant secure land titles to native peoples and peasant farmers who don’t have them, it will be a major concern. We as FENAMAD have led the discussion and debate on this issue and now there’s an alliance of federations here in Madre de Dios working to present our observations on the EIA.

We presented a technical report (to the Minister of Transportation) making observations on the EIA of the highway. For example, the current EIA doesn’t take into account the impacts of the highway on Tampobata National Reserve or on Amakaeri Communal Reserve where many indigenous people live, and it has incorrect information about impacts on native communities living in Bahuaja Sonene National Park. The EIA also treats the river basins in the area in a fragmentary and generic way. We hope that these and other constructive and fair observations will be incorporated into the EIA for the benefit of the region.

We know that the Interoceanic project and projects for so-called “development” are going to benefit large agricultural interests and not local populations. Local populations are not prepared economically to benefit from the highway and there’s been no interest on the part of the national or regional government to give us at least a few incentives to prepare ourselves in every sense—economically and socially—to see how we could benefit somehow from the highway.

If the government doesn’t promote a sustainable vision for our region, what we’re going to see are large trucks passing through here, big businesses from the Brazilian side. There they have a broad vision of expanding soy cultivation, which is not going to be very positive, since the territorial space for cultivation is going to affect indigenous peoples, riverside communities, and rural communities. So this is only a capitalist vision, not a vision that will help the poor populations of our country.

ZH: Why hasn’t the Peruvian government finished the legal demarcation of indigenous lands here in Madre de Dios?

JC: If there are fewer indigenous territories demarcated, it’s easier for the government to occupy the Amazon. If there’s more demarcation, then the territories are already occupied. We’ve occupied the Amazon for thousands of years, but we lack legitimacy. When the government talks about occupation, sometimes there’s a community that isn’t recognized, that doesn’t have a land title—and if they’re not legally recognized, they don’t exist on the level of country data. We have existed since before the formation of nation-states, but some of us are not legally recognized. A priority should be to legally recognize these territories. And not only indigenous territories, but the territories of chestnut producers, and small-scale loggers who have lived a long time in the region, also must be recognized.

ZH: Which indigenous peoples have not had their territories demarcated yet?

JC: For example, the Masenawa from Puerto Azul— and some extensions of territories that are still pending: Arasaire, Diamante, Boca Inambari, and Pilar. We need to focus first on these land titles and then work on other matters if we can. If we don’t guarantee juridical security for indigenous peoples, it will cause a big problem, because the previous land titles were issued from an occidental perspective and were very small. They didn’t include the whole territory, they didn’t include where we hunted, the land we used in our daily activities. They would say to us, “Let’s see, there are 40 ‘indios’ here, multiplied by 20 hectares,” and get the total from that. The first land titles did not originate from an indigenous vision of our territory. Only the most recent land titles have improved because we’ve pushed for a vision of territory that’s integral.

ZH: Are you worried that, if and when the Interoceanic is completed, soy will begin to invade Madre de Dios?

JC: Not only will soy invade, there will also be a lot of migration. With the highway, all of a sudden we’re going to see major investment come in and buy up a lot of territory, a lot of agricultural zones, and we’re going to get to a point where we depend on one large landowner who has a lot of hectares. And we won’t have any alternatives to offer. What will happen is that we’ll fall into the hands of the investors.

And then we won’t be able to confront that social and economic problem. Many small-scale farmers, chestnut producers, and loggers are going to lose their rights, because they won’t be able to offer products or negotiate, and this will cause chaos. The regional government isn’t taking this into account and they don’t have any vision of how this highway will benefit the communities through sustainable activities, for example ecotourism. We cannot compete with Brazil’s economic industries. We’re already working in ecotourism in some native communities here in Madre de Dios. So the question is to how to reinforce these initiatives, how to transform some specific products to add value. We have forest resources; are we going to sell raw timber, or should we start to put a factory here to add value, search for international markets, and not fall into the same old patterns?

We should already be debating this, but the regional governments are asleep. Social organizations are knocking on their door so they can at least wake up and see how to really get a regional economy going here in Madre de Dios.

ZH: Will the Interoceanic Sur highway exacerbate existing problems for indigenous peoples in Madre de Dios?

JC: Yes—one is the problem of oil extraction. There are four oil blocks here in Madre de Dios; 80% of the province has been rented to oil operators. Nothing has been considered or taken into account before licensing these oil blocks—for example, how to meet the requirements of the International Labor Organization’s Convention 169.1 Oil blocks have been leased throughout Peru without taking into account the interests of the inhabitants of the Amazon, both indigenous people and farmers … Here in Peru decisions are made in the capital, not in coordination with each regional government or with their local populations. This model is wrong. The Peruvian government signed onto ILO 169, but its requirements are not being met.

Oil activity in Peru has brought more harm than good. We know what is happening to our brothers and sisters the Achuar of the Corrientes and Pastaza Rivers, our brothers and sisters the Shipibo from Cannan de Kachiyako, our Machiguenga brothers and sisters of the Urubamba River. I’ve been there to visit, and I’ve seen their despair, caused by the loss of territory, the contamination of their rivers, health problems of children and elders; and so it worries us that the Peruvian government is avoiding all responsibility to the indigenous people of Madre de Dios by leasing these four oil blocks. We know these blocks will only benefit a small group that manages these oil companies, and not the local population.

The second problem is illegal logging, which is advancing with few controls. We as indigenous people have been demanding, since 2001, the creation of observation posts to minimize the impacts of illegal logging—we’ve helped the Peruvian government by pushing forward this program of sustainable forest management. We have led by applying the forestry law with a much more long-term, sustainable vision—but the government hands out the concessions and turns around and walks away.

There are small-scale peasant producers who are trying to secure support from the government, but the government doesn’t support them as much as they do the large oil companies. The Peruvian government goes into debt for the large oil companies, using loans that we Peruvians have to pay back, to begin the oil projects. But for the sustainable forestry concessions, which are for small business people from the area, there’s no support. So why have we supported small-scale peasant producers, like chestnut producers? Because we want to organize our territories so that there’s no longer illegal logging, and so that the rights of the territories of indigenous people in voluntary isolation are respected.

We respect their self-determination. Because of this we’ve put forth alternatives such as a territorial reserve for isolated peoples that was approved in 2002. But it hasn’t served its purpose, since illegal loggers still invade these lands by the thousands. In other words, it doesn’t work. It’s not fulfilling its role, there’s no control over fauna and flora. So we are creating observation and control posts with the help of allies and friends to see how we can control these lands, similar to the model of the FUNAI in Brazil.2 We’re thinking in the same way as the FUNAI, to observe the lands of isolated indigenous people in Madre de Dios.

And the third problem, which I would address to the governments of industrial countries such as the United States, is climate change. I will never tire of saying that climate change is the responsibility of so-called developed countries. They are the ones that are causing these great changes in climate, and we don’t want to hide the fact that nature is responding because humans don’t have a harmonious relationship with nature. It’s because of this that nature is responding in a dangerous way.

We’re here showing to the world what our vision is and how international policies should be oriented to fit the realities of Amazonian countries. These are some of the visions of our ancestors, who still serve as guides to orient our peoples so that great chaos doesn’t happen, so great changes don’t happen while we don’t have the tools to mitigate their effects. Both sides need to work together—the so-called developed countries have to listen to us, and include us in their policy proposals to help mitigate climate change.

ZH: Could the Interoceanic Sur bring benefits?

JC: Yes, if it comes with other social packages, as I mentioned. But if the Interoceanic comes on its own, and the population can’t discuss it, debate it, and propose some economic steps that are more in accord with our reality, it’s going to be more harmful for us.

If there’s willingness to discuss which activities should be promoted in Madre de Dios, if there are resources to assure judicial security for indigenous lands, and to mitigate environmental impacts, so that we as social organizations can monitor the environmental impacts, then yes. So with this active participation in the affected zones, I think we can at least mitigate the impacts of the highway. The project was created from above, it’s being carried out as a national policy; and if it’s carried out without considering all of the points I’ve indicated, ten years from now we’ll be looking at real chaos, and I hope to be alive to show you what’s happened. I think at least my people will still exist, and we will always be adding these matters into the debate.

End Notes

  1. Convention 169 of the International Labor Organization stipulates the rights of indigenous peoples to make decisions regarding the use of natural resources in their territory.
  2. FUNAI, Fundação Nacional do Indio, is the Brazilian National Indigenous Protection Agency. FUNAI maintains observation and health posts outside of many indigenous territories in Brazil. FUNAI has been previously criticized for its role in the militarization of indigenous populations and the spread of disease.

Zachary Hurwitz is a graduate student at the Department of Geography and the Environment at the University of Texas at Austin. During 2007 he was the IIRSA Program Associate for Amazon Watch, an environmental organization based in San Francisco, California, and he contributes to the Americas Policy Program at www.americaspolicy.org.


For More Information

Amazon Watch www.amazonwatch.org

FENAMAD is a regional member of Asociación Interétnica de Desarrollo de la Selva Peruana (AIDESEP): www.aidesep.org.pe

A comprehensive case study of observations to the Interoceanic Sur Environmental Impact Assessment was made by Marc Dourojeanni in 2006, found here: www.biceca.org/proxy/Document.135.aspx

Asociación Labor/Núcleo Amigos de la Tierra Peru: www.labor.org.pe

Goldman Environmental Prize: Profile of 2007 Winner Julio Cusurichi Palacios www.goldmanprize.org/node608

Bank Information Center: Profile of the Interoceanic Sur Highway www.biceca.org/en/Project.Overview.312.aspx

in Americas Program Voices of the Countryside

A small corner of Colombia’s new Serrania de los Churumbelos Auka Wasi National Park (Photo courtesy Environment Ministry of Colombia


BOGOTA, Colombia, August 31, 2007 (ENS) – The government of Colombia has created a new national park for the protection of one of the greatest areas of biodiversity in the country, inhabited by such rare and endangered animals as the Andean bear, jaguar, puma and tapir.

The new park stretches from the lowlands of the Amazon Basin to the slopes of the Andean Mountains, covering 97,180 hectares, or 375 square miles.

Environment, Air and Territorial Development Minister Juan Lozano Ramirez announced the creation of the Serrania de los Churumbelos Auka Wasi National Park in Bogota on Thursday.

“In the new national park, 461 species of birds have been registered – equivalent to 26 percent of the birds in all of the country, the minister said. “They are not only important for their representativeness at the national level, but for the fact that 77 percent of them depend on the ecosystem conserved in the protected area.”

The Churumbelos mountainous area is recognized for its great biodiversity. Some 30 species of amphibians and 16 species of reptiles live in the newly protected area as well as more than 140 species of butterflies, and 825 species of plants.

“We will mobilize to all of Colombian society in support of our natural parks,” said Lozano Ramirez.

The global conservation organization WWF participated in the process that led to the declaration of the new park and will help implement the management plan, which includes the promotion of conservation and sustainable development in and around the newly protected area.

“The new park significantly increases the network of protected areas that are so important for the conservation of Andean and Amazon ecosystems,” said Luis Germán Naranjo, WWF-Colombia’s ecoregional conservation director.

“Our work with the Colombian parks authorities will boost activities to preserve the Amazon Basin at local, regional, national and international levels,” said Naranjo.

This new protected area will be a valuable opportunity to conserve and to consolidate the culture of the indigenous communities, the Inga and Yanaconas, and to assist them in the recovery of their cultural practices, Naranjo said.


For these communities, the Churumbelos mountains are a place where territory and culture are based on a single concept, fundamental in the symbolic and material recreation of their culture.

It is believed that the Andaqui ethnic group lives in voluntary isolation from modern societies at the headwaters of the Forge and Mandiyaco rivers in the Churumbelos mountains. The creation of the national park protects the territory occupied by this ethnic group, under the precautionary principle, Naranjo said.

Minister Lozano Ramirez announced the new park during a Forum on the International Ecosystems of the Millenium. Speaking at the event, he emphasized that the environment is not a secondary consideration for his government, but on the contrary “is a subject of state that engages at the highest level the public responsibilities of the official agencies.”

In 2008, the minister said, Colombia’s National System of Natural Parks will have the largest financial investment in its history.


In addition to several agencies of the Colombian government, the park was created with the assistance of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation through the project Piedemonte Andino-Amazo’nico Colombia, the Embassy of the Netherlands, the Global Environment Facility, and the United Nations, WWF Colombia and the Institute of Etnobiología.

in ens-newswire 


This video is a little long, but it is an amazing view of the dangers faced by activists working in places like this.


From the Guardian’s website:

Paulo Adário, the coordinator of Greenpeace’s Amazonia campaign, who led the mission subsequently complained that ‘We heard from the Mayor and all of the others that the Constitution does not exist in Juína, there is no right to go and see, no freedom of the press. It is completely unacceptable that ranchers, with the support of the local authorities, can violate our freedom of movement and freedom of expression in this way.’Unfortunately such threats are both very real and very common in Brazil today. Over the past 30 years, 1,237 rural workers, union leaders and activist have been killed in Brazilian land disputes and only a tiny handful people have ever been convicted as a result.

I have huge respect for journalists and activist who put their lives on the line to get the truth out. But as Paulo reminded me by email:

We could leave the region with our plane and – that Tuesday – remove the two Opan guys. But the Enawene will stay there forever, and Opan needs to come back to help them. They are under threat, not us.

He’s right. They’ve asked for our help, and brave people like that deserve it. One way we can help to keep them safe is to spread the word. So please forward this video around.


Survival International is also calling on people to write emails and letters. Also see the OPAN website.


post do Andrew no Blog Making Waves




August 30, 2007


Threats and intimidation down Amazon way


As the narrator of this startling video states, “working in the Amazon forest is not for the faint of heart.” In the past, people from campaigning organisations have been bullied by land owners and workers, facing intimidation, violence, death threats and even murder. The most recent example, documented in the video from Greenpeace Brazil, happened just last week and seeing footage of a situation verging on outright violence, I’ve found a new level of respect for the men and women who put themselves in the firing line.



The trouble began when a group of representatives from Greenpeace and Operation Native Amazon (an organisation working with forest communities), along with two French journalists, went to visit the indigenous Enawene-Nawe people near the town of Juina in Mato Grosso state. All they wanted to do was document their way of life in the forest, but were prevented from doing so by an angry mob of farmers and local officials.


Attempts to negotiate failed as it became clear that the farmers considered themselves as owners of not just the land and roads, but also the Enawene-Nawe as well. As the group are escorted away by a convoy of Jeeps and pick-up trucks, this appalling affront to civil liberties in a democratic country is a shock to the system, particularly as the town mayor was helping to run them out of town. At least they could leave, but the Enawene-Nawe’s lands are surrounded by farms which are continually encroaching on the forest.


When it comes down to it, the rights of a community who have lived there for generations are being challenged by the commercial ambitions of farmers who have been cutting down the forest for perhaps 20 years. I know who I’m backing.


post do Jamie no Blog Making Waves

BBC Brasil - BBC


Tamanho do texto? A A A A



- A organização não-governamental Survival International lançou nesta quarta-feira uma campanha para proteger tribos isoladas da Amazônia.

De acordo com a ONG, que produziu um filme para a campanha, mais de cem tribos em todo o mundo continuam sem manter contato com a civilização.

“Elas representam os povos mais vulneráveis do mundo, que podem ser exterminados nos próximos 20 anos caso os seus direitos a um território não sejam reconhecidos e defendidos”, afirmou a atriz Julie Christie, estrela do filme Doutor Jivago (1965) e narradora do filme.

A campanha da ONG defende o direito desses índios de viverem isolados e alega que o contato com o “homem branco” trouxe conseqüências negativas a várias tribos.

A organização cita o exemplo dos akuntsu, um povo das florestas de Rondônia. Hoje, há apenas seis sobreviventes dessa tribo.

De acordo com a Survival, quando a Funai tentou entrar em contato com os akuntsu em 1995, descobriu que criadores de gado tinham invadido as terras deles e massacrado quase todos.

Depois da matança, segundo a ONG, os agressores teriam destruído as ocas com tratores para eliminar provas do crime.

“Um dos homens (que sobreviveram ao ataque), Pupak, ainda guarda uma bala de chumbo nas costas e conta que homens armados o perseguiram a cavalo. Eles vivem em um pequeno resto de floresta”, diz o texto da Survival.

Outro exemplo citado pela ONG para justificar a necessidade de isolamento dos índios é o da tribo Awá, um povo de caçadores nômades do leste da Amazônia.

De acordo com a Survival International, hoje os awá estão sob pressão de enormes projetos agroindustriais, criadores de gado e grileiros.

“Estamos sendo encurralados pelos brancos. Eles estão sempre avançando e agora estão quase em cima de nós. Estamos sempre em fuga. Amamos a floresta porque nascemos aqui e sabemos como sobreviver a partir dela. Sem a floresta, vamos sumir, vamos ser extintos”, afirmou um líder indígena dos awá, To”o, à ONG. BBC Brasil – Todos os direitos reservados. É proibido todo tipo de reprodução sem autorização por escrito da BBC.

via Estadão

Paulo Adario às margens do Rio Juruena com Atainaene escoltado por  PMs.

Foto de Juína Brasil
Paulo Adario às margens do Rio Juruena com Atainaene escoltado por PMs.



Juína, Brasil — Greenpeace e Opan pedem investigação contra fazendeiros e políticos que expulsaram as organizações e dois jornalistas franceses da cidade de Juína, no Mato Grosso.

O Greenpeace e a organização indigenista Opan (Operação Amazônia Nativa) pediram hoje ao Ministério Público Federal a apuração dos graves incidentes ocorridos há dois dias em Juína, no Mato Grosso, que resultaram na expulsão, por fazendeiros, de um grupo de representantes da Opan, ativistas do Greenpeace e dois jornalistas franceses. Entre os ambientalistas estava o coordenador do Greenpeace na Amazônia, Paulo Adario.

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Cópias de duas horas de imagens em vídeo documentando ameaças, ofensas e o processo de expulsão do grupo foram entregues agora à tarde ao Procurador Federal da República em Mato Grosso, Mário Lúcio Avelar. Pela manhã, Adario fez um pronunciamento sobre o assunto durante reunião especial do Conselho Nacional de Meio Ambiente (Conama) que se realiza em Cuiabá, e pediu providências das autoridades estaduais e federais. Ontem, durante a abertura da reunião, o governador Blairo Maggi anunciou que irá pedir a presença do Exército para enfrentar a grilagem e garantir a ordem no noroeste do estado, onde está Juína. O governo do estado havia sido informado no dia anterior que o Greenpeace, a Opan e jornalistas estavam praticamente mantidos como reféns num hotel da cidade, cercados por quase uma centena de fazendeiros.

“Ao mesmo tempo em que o governo celebra e assume o mérito pela queda das taxas de desmatamento na Amazônia, o episódio em Juína mostra que sua presença ou é rala ou ainda está muito longe daqui”, disse Paulo Adário, coordenador da campanha da Amazônia do Greenpeace, que fazia parte do grupo. “É inaceitável que fazendeiros, com o apoio de autoridades locais, cerceiem a liberdade que todo cidadão tem de ir e vir e revoguem a Lei de Imprensa, cassando o direito de jornalistas exercerem sua profissão com segurança”.

O grupo do Greenpeace, da Opan e os jornalistas franceses foram expulsos por fazendeiros na segunda-feira pela manhã (20/08), depois de ser mantido durante toda a noite sob vigilância em um hotel da cidade. O grupo de nove pessoas estava de passagem por Juína e seguia em direção à terra indígena Enawene-Nawe. O objetivo da viagem era documentar áreas recém-desmatadas, além de mostrar a convivência de um povo indígena que vive de agricultura e pesca com a floresta e seu papel em preservar a biodiversidade.

No final da tarde de domingo, fazendeiros abordaram integrantes das duas organizações no hotel onde estavam hospedados, querendo saber quem eram e o que estavam fazendo em Juína. A área onde está localizada a terra indígena está em disputa entre os Enawene Nawe e os fazendeiros e expressa o conflito da expansão agrícola sobre áreas protegidas e territórios de povos indígenas.

Os índios reivindicam a reintegração de parte do território tradicional que teria ficado de fora da demarcação e que contém uma área de pesca cerimonial, fundamental nos rituais sagrados dos Enawene. Os fazendeiros, por sua vez, alegam que a terra é deles e estão dispostos a lutar para mantê-las. Eles se mostraram muito irritados quando souberam que jornalistas integravam o grupo que estava no hotel.

Na manhã seguinte, o local foi cercado por dezenas de fazendeiros e o presidente da Câmara Municipal, vereador Francisco Pedroso, o Chicão (DEM), que exigiam esclarecimento sobre os objetivos dos visitantes. O grupo foi levado à Câmara Municipal, onde uma sessão especial foi rapidamente organizada. Estavam presentes o prefeito da cidade, Hilton Campos (PR), o presidente da Câmara, o presidente da OAB, o presidente da Associação dos Produtores Rurais da região do Rio Preto(Aprurp), Aderval Bento, vários vereadores e mais de 50 fazendeiros. E também a polícia. Durante seis horas, os fazendeiros e repetiram que a entrada do grupo na terra Enawene Nawe não seria permitida e que seria “perigoso” insistir na viagem. Esmurrando a mesa, o prefeito de Juína, Hilton Campos, afirmou que não iria permitir a ida do grupo para o Rio Preto, sendo aplaudido fervorosamente pelos colegas fazendeiros.

Para evitar maiores conflitos, a viagem foi cancelada. O grupo, então, se dirigiu ao local de encontro com os Enawene, uma ponte sobre o Rio Preto, a 60 km de distância, para dar a eles combustível e comida para a volta. A viagem foi feita sob escolta policial, para garantir a segurança dos jornalistas, da Opan e do Greenpeace. Mas nem isso evitou que os fazendeiros, que acompanharam a viagem de ida e volta em 8 oito caminhonetes lotadas, continuassem intimidando e ameaçando o grupo. O grupo se refugiou no hotel de onde não pôde sair nem para comer. Uma viatura da Polícia Militar ficou na área, para impedir qualquer tentativa de invasão, mas não conseguiu impedir que um fotógrafo fosse agredido. Os fazendeiros fizeram uma vigília na frente do hotel durante toda a noite.

De manhã cedo, 30 caminhonetes lotadas de fazendeiros, com faróis acessos a buzinando sem parar, insultando e ameaçando o grupo, escoltaram o grupo, que estava protegido por duas viaturas policiais, até o aeroporto.Foram advertidos a decolar imediatamente, ou o avião seria queimado. No momento, todos se encontram em segurança em Cuiabá.


in Greenpeace

Rainforests are very rich in natural resources, but they are also very fragile. For this reason, rainforest peoples have become instinctive conservationists. For them, conservation is literally a way of life. If they were to take too much food in one year, the forest would not be able to produce enough new food for them to be able to survive in the next year. Many rainforest tribes gather their food from small garden plots, which are shifted every few years. This method is less productive than western agriculture, but is also much less harmful to the rainforest environment. As they cannot produce food in large quantities, most tribes are forced to limit their numbers so their gardens and the products of hunting expeditions are able to feed them, and all tribes have a great respect for their forest and for the animals and plants they share it with.

The rainforest lifestyle may sound like a kind of paradise, a Garden of Eden for the lucky few who live there. It certainly has its advantages. There is little stress, little mental illness and little high blood pressure among rainforest dwellers. Physical fitness is generally good, and few people need to work for more than four hours a day to provide themselves and their families with adequate food and other necessities. However, life is far from perfect. One in every two children born in the rainforest dies before their second birthday, and if they make it to forty years of age they are considered tribal elders. Most rain forest dwellers who make it through childhood tend to die from a disease trivial to western medicine.

Sacrifice for Survival

Competition for good hunting grounds is fierce, and there is often warfare between neighbouring groups when disputes over territorial rights break out. New-born babies are often killed by their mothers in order to prevent a group from growing too large to be supported by its territory.

This is a major problem, as territories can be very large indeed.. It has been


estimated that a group of eighty-four people needs a minimum territory of 640 square kilometres in order to be fully self-sufficient. Female babies are killed more often than males. There are a number of reasons for this: men are the hunters, so by having more males a group is able to send out more hunters in order to produce more food; men are also warriors, so the more adult males there are in a group, the better protected against enemies it will be; as men are warriors, many of them are killed in battles with neighbouring groups; by limiting the number of women in a group, the group’s ability to reproduce is naturally restricted. Although these measures may seem harsh to us, they are perfectly logical and an essential feature of life in the rain forest. A group which becomes too large will starve, so selective killing of infants ensures the group’s survival.


Endangered Species

This way of life has gone on uninterrupted for centuries, but is now under threat because of the invasion of the rain forest by outsiders – logging companies, mining operations and ranchers looking to make a quick profit by exploiting the natural resources to be found in the rain forests around the world. When you think of endangered species, you tend to think of animals or plants.


It would be fair however to describe rainforest peoples as endangered species. Each tribe is unique, has its own culture, mythology, religious beliefs, art and ritual. There may be a great deal we can learn from them. We know already that there are a vast number of as yet undiscovered plants and animals in the rain forest. Tribal medicine men may hold in their heads the key to curing many of the world’s as yet incurable diseases by using undocumented chemical compounds found in species of rain forest plants.

At the moment, despite the efforts of pressure groups, little concern is being shown either for the welfare of the rain forest or of its inhabitants – animal or vegetable – by the governments in control of the vast, but shrinking, areas of rain forest still in existence.

Even more frustrating is the knowledge that rain forest soil is very poor for growing c rops and turns to virtual desert within five years of losing its protective canopy of trees. Governments know this, yet still allow logging and ranching to continue on a huge scale. It is true that in the short term, huge amounts of money can be made from exploiting the rain forest in this way. But in the longer term, and here I mean no more than ten to fifteen years, there will simply be vast areas of desert where once there was rain forest.

But I digress. Let us turn now to the fortunes of possibly the most famous of all the tribes of the rainforest, the Yanomami Indians of northern Brazil and southern Venezuela. I hope that by looking at this one example in detail it will be possible to examine the problems which face rainforest peoples all over the world.


Protected Species

As Amazonian Indian tribes go, the Yanomami have been lucky. Their traditional homelands were in the mountainous highlands of Brazil and Venezuela, away from the big rivers and relatively inaccessible. For this reason they were spared the ravaging effects of the previously unknown diseases brought by the Spanish conquistadors to South America during the seventeenth century, which wiped out many of the riverine tribes completely. Since then their territories have expanded into the lower valleys, but despite this, until recent times the only contact the Yanomami have had with whites had been through the occasional visits of scientists or missionaries.

In 1985, however, a gold-rush on Yanomami lands in Brazil led to the influx of tens of thousands of miners and prospectors, overwhelming the small populations of local people. So far the Yanomami have been able to maintain their traditional customs, despite outside influences. After world-wide protest at the harsh treatment of the Yanomami, the Brazilian government was forced to grant the Yanomami 94,000 square kilometres of territory, an area larger than Scotland, in 1991. As has been noted above, even small groups need very large areas of territory in order to provide for themselves. The Yanomami know that if their population density increases, they will start to overuse their resources. Villages tend to fragment naturally through political rivalry and discontent as they become larger. This means that the average village population is kept down to between 50 and 70.

Despite having the supposed protection of the Brazilian government, garimpeiros – illegal gold miners – continue to prospect on Yanomami lands. They have brought with them diseases that are either lethal or very difficult to control among the Yanomami. In 1991, a survey showed that half of all Brazil’s Yanomami suffered from malaria, a disease previously unknown to them. Other diseases like tuberculosis and hepatitis are killing large numbers of Indians, and the Brazilian national health service is not providing medicines in sufficient quantity to control the problem. It has also been found that people living downstream from the gold mines have unacceptably high levels of mercury in their bodies.


And in Venezuela

In Venezuela the Yanomami live in a biosphere reserve which is 83,000 square kilometres in area. The biosphere reserve was set up not only to protect the 11,000 or so Yanomami who live there, sharing the territory with the Yekuana tribe, but also to protect the rich rainforests of the region.

For the Venezuelan Yanomami, it would seem that their biggest problem is the army, which has been moved into their lands in order to protect them from the Brazilian garimpeiros (see above). The morale of the officers and men alike is poor, and they take out their frustration on the Yanomami, through abuse, including rape.

Further problems are caused by the frequent “scientific” expeditions into their lands. The Yanomami say that they learn nothing from the expeditions and that they do not believe that some of the visitors are scientists anyway. Eco-tourists are becoming more common intruders on rainforest people’s lands.

They should be reminded that in looking for that “unique jungle experience” they may bring with them diseases new to the tribes they encounter while having their “experience”. It should be remembered that medical care for the Yanomami seems to be as inadequate in Venezuela as it is in Brazil.

Left: The unique jungle experience.


Rainforest Peoples – The Future

In the case of the Yanomami, there is at least some cause for optimism. They now live on reserves approved by governments and seem to be maintaining their traditions. Clearly there is a need for better health care and for more sympathetic policing of their lands by the military. They are perhaps the most famous of all rain forest tribes, and are therefore protected to some extent by public opinion. There would be world-wide outcry if Yanomami lands were threatened by development or mining again.

But how many other tribes are struggling for survival in the rainforests of the world? How many people have heard of the Kayapo, the Yekuana, the Iban, the Mehinacu or the Xikru? How much popular support could be rallied in their defence?

Clearly, rain forest tribes throughout the world are in need of protection. This protection should be granted as soon as possible by the governments of their nation states, but is bound to take time. Most rain forest tribes live in poor countries. The forests are rich in natural resources and can make huge sums of money for a few years, thus making the countries involved richer. But after those few years all that remains is desert. Most former rain forest which has been exploited for other purposes will either take many years to recover, or will never recover at all. The only way to stop the destruction of the rain forests, of the animals and plants, and of the tribes which live in them is through greater public awareness of the problems we are creating for ourselves. By this I mean a world-wide realization of the importance of the rain forest and its inhabitants, and of the need for proper protection against its permanent destruction. The possibility of imposing trade sanctions upon countries which continue to destroy their rain forests is at time of writing a subject of debate at a meeting of worldwide conservation groups. Perhaps this is a hopeful sign for the future of the rain forest…


Useful Reading

1. The Law of the Mother
Elizabeth Kemf (Ed), Sierra Club Books (1993).
- Details of the problems facing tribal peoples all over the world, including the Yanomami.

2. The Last Rainforests
Dr Mark Collins (Ed), Guild Publishing (1990).
- This is a general reference book about rain forests, which also has some information on tribes living in them.


AS THE Karitiana Indians remember it, the first researchers to draw their blood came here in the late 1970s, shortly after their Amazon tribe began sustained contact with the outside world. In 1996, another team visited, promising medicine if the Karitiana would give more blood, so they dutifully lined up again.

But those promises were never fulfilled, and since then the world has expanded again for the Karitiana through the arrival of the internet. Now they have been enraged by a simple discovery: their blood and DNA are being sold by a US concern to scientists around the world for $85 a sample.

They want the practice stopped and are demanding compensation for what they describe as the violation of their integrity.

“We were duped, lied to and exploited,” Renato Karitiana, leader of the tribal association, said from the tribe’s reservation in the western Amazon, where 313 Karitiana eke out a living from farming, fishing and hunting.

Antonio Karitiana, the village chief (pictured below) said that health care, sanitation and housing are precarious and transportation deficient. Any money mad from their blood should have been invested “for the benefit of the entire community,” he said.

The Surui people, whose homeland is to the south of the Karitiana, and the Yanomami, who live on the Brazil-Venezuela border, complain of similar experiences.

The indigenous peoples of the Amazon are ideal for certain types of genetic research because they are isolated and close-knit populations, allowing geneticists to construct a more thorough pedigree and to track disease transmission down generations.

But the practice of collecting blood samples has aroused widespread suspicions among Brazilians, who have been zealous about what they call “bio-piracy” ever since rubber seedlings were exported from the Amazon nearly a century ago.

Coriell Cell Repositories, a non-profit entity in New Jersey, stores human genetic material and makes it available for research. It says the samples were obtained legally through a researcher and approved by the National Institutes of Health in the United States.

Joseph Mintzer, executive vice president of the parent organisation, the Coriell Institute for Medical Research, said: “We are not trying to profit from or steal from Brazilians. We have an obligation to respect their civilisation, culture and people, which is why we carefully control the distribution of these cell lines.”

Like a similar centre in France that has also obtained blood and DNA samples of the Karitiana and other Amazon tribes, Coriell says it provides specimens only to scientists who agree not to commercialise the results of their research or to transfer the material to third parties.

The core of the debate has to do with the concept of ‘informed consent’. Scientists argue the appropriate protocols were followed, but the Indians say they were deceived.

“This is sort of a balancing act,” said Judith Greenberg, director of genetics and developmental biology at the National Institute of General Medical Sciences. “We don’t want to do something that makes a whole tribe or people unhappy or angry. On the other hand, the scientific community is using these samples, which were accepted and maintained under perfectly legitimate procedures, for the benefit of mankind.”

But the Indians say that when the first blood samples were drawn, they had little or no understanding of the outside world, let alone the workings of Western medicine and modern capitalist economics.

Francis Black, the first researcher to take samples here, died recently, so it is impossible to obtain his account.

But officials of the National Indian Foundation, the Brazilian government agency that supervises tribal groups, said his presence on the reservation violated procedures specifically designed to protect Indians from outsiders.

in Scotland on Sunday

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