True crime is jeopardizing the future of the Amazon, but indigenous groups and Brazil’s police are fighting back – together

Steve Schwartzman – Environmental Defense Fund, 07/13/2016

A new operation against land grabbers and illegal loggers in Brazil’s state of Pará is showing how collaboration between indigenous and forest communities and law enforcement can take on the biggest ongoing threats to the Amazon forest: illegal logging and illegal deforestation for land grabbing.

Launched June 30th, the operation started with an investigation two years ago after leaders from the Kayapô indigenous group reported clandestine deforestation on the western border of their territory to the Brazilian federal environmental enforcement agency, IBAMA.

Guided by the Indians, IBAMA agents discovered encampments of workers who were clearing the forest in the indigenous territory and on adjacent public land, while leaving the tallest trees; this hid the illegal deforestation from satellite monitoring. The workers, who according to police labored under semi-slave conditions, would then burn the understory and plant pasture grass. Meanwhile, another part of the gang surveyed and forged land registry documents to sell the land. IBAMA agents shut down the camps, detained personnel and issued fines – and brought in the Prosecutor’s Office and Federal Police to investigate.


Brazil’s indigenous leaders risk their lives fighting for survival

Wyre Davies – BBC News, 06/20/2016

Brazil’s indigenous tribes are as diverse as they are numerous: from the south-western sate of Mato Grosso do Sul to the impenetrable northern jungles of the Amazon to the eastern Atlantic seaboard.

There’s one thing, perhaps above all others, these tribes have in common – the relentless, insatiable pressure on their land and resources.

Indeed, there is nowhere else on earth as dangerous for “defenders” of land or the environment as Brazil.

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Brazil cracks down on illegal mining

Al Jazeera, 05/28/2013

Troops deployed in area inhabited by indigenous tribe near border with Venezuela in fight against gold mining.

Brazil’s military is 12 days into its largest ever deployment of troops in the country’s border regions.

The military has sent 25,000 troops to guard the entire border with Venezuela that stretches nearly 17,000km.

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Despite legal victories Awa Territory still full of invaders in Brazil

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.

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Special Report – Rough justice as Brazil tries to right past wrongs to Indians

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.

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Brazilian chief uses technology to help save his tribe and curb deforestation

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.

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Brazil police evicts Rio indigenous museum protesters

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.

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