April 12, 2013
Rick Kearns – Indian Country, 04/10/2013
The Awa people of Maranhao state, in northeastern Brazil, have turned in desperation to the international community to help protect their territory according to activists at Survival International (SI), a human rights organization based in London, England.
For generations the Awa, who SI asserts is the “Earth’s most threatened tribe,” have lived in the Amazonian forest area of Maranhao, but in the last decade they have been persecuted and pushed out of their territory by illegal logging operations and other settlers, according to a variety of sources.
Human rights advocates in Brazil and throughout the world have been trying to help the Awa in their efforts, and last year a Brazilian judge delivered some good news.
April 10, 2013
Caroline Stauffer – Reuters, 04/10/2013
Damião Paridzané was nine years old in 1966 when the Brazilian Air Force loaded him and hundreds of other Xavante Indians onto a cargo plane.
The government, eager to open up the tribe’s fertile slice of central Brazil to commercial agriculture, whisked them 250 miles (400 km) away to a new reservation. Paridzané says many friends died of measles, while others clashed with rival tribes who had been forced onto the same land.
Nearly a half century after their eviction, the Xavantes are back. Paridzané is now chief, resplendent in a headdress of bright green and blue feathers. These days it’s the “white man” being forced to leave. As President Dilma Rousseff’s government tries to redress past wrongs, it has evicted some 7,000 farmers and other settlers and turned their holdings into a reservation so that the Xavantes can return home.
March 28, 2013
Juan Forero, The Washington Post, 03/27/2013
As a small boy in the early ’80s, Almir Surui hunted monkeys with a bow and arrow, wore a loincloth and struggled with Brazil’s official language, Portuguese.
At 38, he is the tech-savvy, university-educated chief of the Paiter Surui, or “the real people,” of this western corner of Brazil.
He can still handle a bow. But Chief Almir Narayamoga Surui says his weapon of choice is technology: Android phones to monitor illegal logging, hand-held Global Positioning System devices to map territory and Google Earth Outreach to show the world what a well-managed forest looks like.
March 22, 2013
BBC News, 03/22/2013
A group of indigenous Brazilians has been evicted from the building they had been occupying in Rio de Janeiro for more than six years.
Police used tear gas and rubber bullets to dislodge the indigenous people from the former museum.
The building is next to the famous Maracana football stadium.
January 14, 2013
AP/The Washington Post, 01/12/2013
Police in riot gear surrounded a settlement of indigenous people next to Rio de Janeiro’s storied Maracana stadium on Saturday, preparing to evict them as soon as an expected court order arrived.
The site commander, police Lt. Alex Melo, explained officers were “waiting for the order, and understand it can come at any time.”
But the order still had not arrived after a tense, daylong standoff. Frightened residents wondered why law enforcement came without an order to enter, and federal public defenders who have worked on the protracted legal battle over the space tried to mediate.
August 15, 2012
Mariano Castillo – CNN, 8/15/2012
(CNN) — A Brazilian court has ordered an immediate halt to construction of a controversial hydroelectric dam project in the Amazon.
It’s the latest twist in a long-brewing battle between the Brazilian government and local indigenous communities over the Belo Monte dam.
The government has backed the construction of what would be the world’s third-largest hydroelectric dam, while activists argue that it would displace thousands of local residents and damage the environment.
August 15, 2012
A federal court in Brazil on Tuesday ordered that work on the huge Belo Monte dam in the Amazon be suspended, saying native communities affected by the controversial hydroelectric project must be heard.
The regional federal court ruled that the construction of the dam across the Xingu River, a tributary of the Amazon, should be halted until indigenous peoples can have their say at a congressional hearing, a court official said.
The dam, expected to produce 11,000 megawatts, would be the third-biggest in the world, after China’s Three Gorges facility, and Brazil’s Itaipu dam in the south.
August 10, 2011
Tom Phillips – The Guardian, 08/09/2011
The head of Brazil‘s indigenous protection service is to make an emergency visit to a remote jungle outpost, amid fears that members of an isolated Amazon tribe may have been “massacred” by drug traffickers.
Fears for the tribe’s wellbeing have been escalating since late July when a group of heavily armed Peruvian traffickers reportedly invaded its land, triggering a crisis in the remote border region between Brazil and Peru.
On 5 August Brazilian federal police launched an operation in the region, arresting Joaquim Antônio Custódio Fadista, a Portuguese man alleged to have been operating as a cocaine trafficker.
August 27, 2010
BBC News, 08/26/2010
Brazil’s government has given the formal go-ahead for the building on a tributary of the Amazon of the world’s third biggest hydroelectric dam.
After several failed legal challenges, President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva signed the contract for the Belo Monte dam with the Norte Energia consortium.
Critics say the project will damage the local ecosystem and make homeless 50,000 mainly indigenous people.
But the government says it is crucial for development and will create jobs.
November 5, 2009
Ian James-The Washington Post, 11/04/09
Swine flu has appeared among Venezuela’s Yanomami Indians, one of the largest isolated indigenous groups in the Amazon, and a doctor said Wednesday that the virus is suspected in seven deaths, including six infants.
The deaths happened in forest villages near Venezuela’s border with Brazil over the past 2 1/2 weeks, said Raidan Bernade, a Venezuelan doctor on a team sent to contain the outbreak and treat the ill.
Bernade told The Associated Press that doctors confirmed one of those who died had swine flu – a 35-year-old Yanomami woman who doctors believe was pregnant.