In-person Indigenous plea leads to key Swiss gold refiners promising to stop import of gold illegally mined inside Brazilian Amazon Indigenous reserves — a pledge, if fulfilled, that may be a game changer. (Video)
Articles by Thais Borges and Sue Branford
The Kalunga — 39 quilombola communities, the descendants of runaway slaves — have united with international funders to use high-tech georeferencing to catalog their traditional lands and natural resources in Brazil.
The flower-gatherers of the Cerrado uplands, invisible for centuries, win UN recognition for sustainable farming, even as threats from mining, agriculture, and a national park deepen.
Brazil’s Ferrovia Paraense (FEPASA) railroad will run from Pará state’s rainforest interior to the Amazon estuary; traditional communities say they haven’t yet been consulted as required by international law.
Brazil has been mined for gold, bauxite, manganese and more. While companies, investors and nations benefit, the Amazon’s people often haven’t, as they’ve lost traditional cultures, livelihoods and health.
Toxic legacy of mining firms — Norwegian-Japanese Albrás, Brazil’s Vale, Norway’s Norsk Hydro, and France’s Imerys Rio Capim Caulim — wreak havoc on livelihoods and health in Amazon communities: Critics.
In 2009, traditional Brazilian Amazon communities and Catholic nuns brought the transnational mining company to the negotiating table and galvanized Amazonia’s land rights struggle.
While MRN, a mining firm makes big profits working within, and harming, a Brazilian conservation unit, traditional people can be fined for collecting Brazil nuts and fishing sustainably in a nearby protected area.
The Brazilian riverine communities of Boa Nova and Saracá say they’ve endured decades of environmental harm brought by MRN, the world’s fourth largest bauxite mining company.
Mineração Rio do Norte (MRN) arrived in Boa Vista on the Trombetas River in 1979. While the mining company made big profits, traditional people say it has given back little while doing great harm.
IBAMA officials, while trying to halt deforestation in Cachoeira Seca Indigenous Reserve, were threatened and assaulted by illegal loggers. The Bolsonaro administration is largely unresponsive.
Boa Vista Quilombo — an Afro-Brazilian community of runaway slave descendants — lacks basic health services, but COVID-19 is now just a half mile away, infecting MRN mining company personnel.
Environmental degradation has already triggered disease outbreaks in Brazil. The risk of a new emergent zoonotic disease arising there, like COVID-19, is intensified by Bolsonaro’s forest policies.
A 20-year-old Kokama indigenous woman in northern Amazonas state tested positive for COVID-19, the first case among indigenous people in Brazil. Experts fear the spread of the pandemic and its effects for native people, calling for urgent action from the government.
A supposed COVID-19 test for a possibly infected Marubo indigenous man in Atalaia do Norte — gateway to the vast Javari Valley Indigenous Territory — was never analyzed; so results remain unknown.
In 2019, suspect exports of rare wood to Europe, the US and beyond were legalized, likely prompting soaring damage to the Amazon rainforest and new attacks on indigenous people by illegal loggers.
Mamuru River traditional riverine and Sateré indigenous communities are fighting to save the rainforest and their way of life against invading illegal loggers and land grabbers.
Critics link this year’s Amazon fires, especially in protected forests, to illegal deforesters emboldened by rightist government’s lax enforcement.
The Sateré and other groups say they’ve been deprived of healthcare; critics see it as Bolsonaro’s way of forcing reliance on mining and agribusiness for aid.
Eight past environmental ministers assail policies. Amazon Fund and 334 Brazilian parks at risk; sweeping illegal deforestation amnesties head to approval.
The Sateré people practice Waumat — an excruciatingly painful rite involving bullet ants — as a way of unifying and gaining strength against Brazilian land grabbers.
As Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro pushes for indigenous assimilation, the Amazon’s Sateré-Mawé people asserts its indigenous identity and land rights.
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