Brazil's natives protest dam construction

A Brazilian Munduruku native attends a rally in Brasilia, on June 11, 2013
A Brazilian Munduruku native attends a rally in front of the headquarters of the National Indian Foundation (FUNAI) in Brasilia, on June 11, 2013. Indigenous activists occupied the headquarters of the government agency Tuesday to demand a voice in the construction of a controversial dam in the Amazon.

Indigenous activists occupied the headquarters of a government agency Tuesday to demand a voice in the construction of a controversial dam in the Amazon.

The natives arrived in the capital Brasilia a week ago for talks with after occupying one of the Belo Monte dam's building sites.

Unhappy with the outcome, about 150 activists invaded the headquarters of the National Indian Foundation (Funai), the federal agency handling indigenous affairs, late Monday.

"We want respect for the constitution in which the indigenous rights are clearly spelled out," chief Valdenir Munduruku told AFP.

"The government is putting forward various decrees, which flout our rights over our lands with the creation of dams," he added. "We want prior consultation over all these dams."

Armed with bows, arrows and spears, and donning face paint, feathers and straw garb, the indigenous Munduruku, Arara, Kaiapo and Xipaia—including women and children—came from the northern state of Para.

"Respect our rights," proclaimed a huge banner on the agency's gate.

Belo Monte, a $13 billion project aiming to produce 11,000 megawatts of electricity, is expected to flood a 500-square-kilometer (200-square-mile) area along the Xingu River, displacing 16,000 people, according to the government.

It would be the third-biggest dam in the world, after China's Three Gorges and Brazil's Itaipu in the south.

say it will harm their way of life while environmentalists have warned of deforestation, and to the ecosystem.

Amid bitter land feuds with white ranchers, the protesters are also railing against bills that would affect recognition of native lands and authorize mining on them.

Indigenous peoples represent less than one percent of Brazil's 194 million people.


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Jun 11, 2013
More progress at the cost of our very souls. These are some of the last indigenous people on earth, we need to start thinking on global scale. Will the cycle ever be broken or will we end up in a society where one day the whole earth will be displaced in the name of progress?

One small act can have immeasurable consequences.

Jun 12, 2013
Actually it's not progress but the denial of actual progress, like the cold fusion finding, which leads into destruction of life environment and original cultures. These natives are losing their country because of ignorance of mainstream physicists, which is supported even with ignorance of many PO readers here.

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