The Brazilian Amazon basin, now under the administration of President Jair Bolsonaro, is increasingly a place of conflict, as loggers and land grabbers — many inspired by the government’s incendiary rhetoric — step up their invasions of indigenous and traditional lands.One example can be found along the Mamuru River in Pará state. There the Sateré indigenous group (now living mostly inside the Andirá Marau Indigenous Reserve), and non-indigenous traditional riverine communities (living in the Mamuru State Agro-extractivist Project, known as PEAEX Mamuru), are resisting incursions.Loggers and outsiders making dubious land claims are moving in on the disputed government-held common lands that lie between the indigenous reserve and PEAEX Mamuru, a cluster of 18 settlements. The Sateré say this land is part of their ancestral territory, but was mistakenly excluded from the Andirá Marau Reserve.Another threat to indigenous and traditional land claims: a new Pará state law that no longer requires that outsiders live currently on the lands they claim, making it far easier for land grabbers to legitimize those claims. In response, indigenous and traditional riverine communities are now forming a unified resistance. Earlier this year, a Mongabay reporting team travelled to the Brazilian Amazon, spending time with the remote Sateré-Mawé, documenting their culture and long-time conflict with loggers, miners and land grabbers. This series looks at new threats imposed on the Sateré and indigenous groups across Brazil as they’re threatened by the policies of President Jair Bolsonaro. The trip was funded by the Rainforest Journalism Fund in association with the Pulitzer Center and Mongabay. MAMURU RIVER VALLEY, Pará state, Brazil — On arrival in this remote part of the Amazon basin, the Mongabay reporting team was not welcomed by the sound of tropical birds, but by the monotonous industrial grumble of large machines resounding through the rainforest. Loggers and land grabbers are moving in with chainsaws, generators, GPS units and other modern equipment to extract valuable timber, often illegally, and to lay claim to the land. The ever-present roar is just one sign of the fierce struggle underway here and elsewhere in the Amazon basin over how the forest should be used. At issue: whether large expanses of rainforest should carry on as common land held by the government and utilized by indigenous and non-indigenous riverine communities pursuing traditional sustainable livelihoods; or whether these forests should be cut and the land claimed by elite, often wealthy, outsiders as private property to be exploited for logging, agribusiness or mining, with lucrative profits made from resource export. This regional and local conflict is increasingly taking on international relevance as global awareness grows of the urgent need to conserve the Amazon rainforest to store carbon in trees and ground, to help stave off a global climate catastrophe. A clash of cultures along the Mamuru River One local conflict is playing out along the Mamuru River in Pará state, not far from the border with Amazonas state (see map). It is a region occupied for generations by Sateré Indians, now living mostly inside the Andirá Marau Indigenous Reserve, and by non-indigenous traditional riverine communities, living in the Mamuru State Agro-extractivist Project, known as PEAEX Mamuru. (Brazil’s National Institute of Colonization and Agrarian Reform, INCRA, created the agro-extractivist project designation to define areas where non-indigenous communities are permitted to carry out traditional lifestyles and livelihoods.) The clash of cultures isn’t new to this remote region. For many decades mistrust between the indigenous and riverine communities has smoldered. Historian Barbara Weinstein, professor of Latin American and Caribbean history at New York University, tells in her books of how, during the second half of the 19th century, big rubber barons violently expelled indigenous populations when setting up plantations, then settling thousands of laborers from northeast Brazil there to tap the trees. The riverine populations here today are descendants of those migrants. But after the collapse of the rubber boom in the first half of the 20th century, relations between the two communities evolved toward acceptance. According to history professor Cristina Wollf, at Brazil’s Federal University of Santa Catarina, the riverine people only survived by learning from the Indians how to sustainably exploit the forest. More recently, a new phase of cooperation has dawned as both indigenous and traditional communities realize that they must work together if they are to save the forests that surround and sustain them, and successfully stand against the powerful forces moving in from outside.