Munduruku and Greenpeace demarcate Indigenous Lands in the heart of the Amazon

Katie Hill - Editor-in-Chief, My Green Pod

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Published: 19 June 2016

This Article was Written by: Katie Hill - My Green Pod

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The Munduruku Indigenous Peoples and Greenpeace Brazil joined forces this week in an unofficial, community-led demarcation of their land, deep in the heart of the Brazilian Amazon.

Marking the territory

The demarcation is the latest effort in a global campaign to protect the Tapajós River from the construction of a massive dam – the São Luiz do Tapajós (SLT).

The Munduruku, who have fought for many years for the formal recognition of their land, have sparked a global movement for the protection of the Tapajós and are calling on global companies to distance themselves from the controversial project.

‘This an important battle not just for the Munduruku people, but for everyone around the world since we are talking about one of the biggest forests that still exist in the planet.’

JUAREZ
Chief (cacique) of Munduruku Sawré Muybu Indigenous land

The land demarcation involves marking the land with 50 signs, similar to those used by the Brazilian government, to indicate the territory is Munduruku land. The demarcation process would normally be executed by the federal government as the next step in formal Indigenous Land recognition.

The SLT dam threat

A report in April by FUNAI (the Brazilian Indigenous Rights Agency) recognised this area as Munduruku traditional land. Questions around Indigenous land rights have also resulted in the suspension of the licensing process for the SLT dam, but the formal land ownership process has not yet moved forward.

Placing the signs is one of a range of activities at the Sawré Muybu indigenous village, including installing solar panels in the community, that Munduruku and Greenpeace activists will collaborate on in the coming weeks to draw international attention to the threat of the destruction of the Tapajós River.

‘We are standing with the Munduruku to help ensure their rights are upheld and the dam licensing is cancelled once and for all. Not only will this dam change the Munduruku way of life forever, it will also have massive impacts on the special, endemic biodiversity of the region.’

TICA MINAMI
Greenpeace Brazil Amazon Project Leader

If approved, the SLT dam would be the first of five planned in the Tapajós River. It would have a reservoir of 729 square kilometers (almost the size of New York City), flooding part of the Munduruku land, and would drive an estimated 2,200 square kilometers of indirect deforestation as a result of roads and other infrastructure related to the construction and migration to the area.

Greenpeace is calling on international companies like Siemens to confirm they will not get involved in the project by supplying components like the generators. Although their company profile is focused on green solutions, Siemens were involved in the controversial Belo Monte dam, the most recent destructive dam to be built in the Amazon.

‘Siemens is known for leadership in renewables and technical innovation. However they may provide the parts needed to build this dam, in direct contrast to their green image. Siemens must confirm they will not get involved in this unwanted, unnecessary and devastating dam.’

TICA MINAMI
Greenpeace Brazil Amazon Project Leader

Click here to find out more about Greenpeace’s campaign to protect the heart of the Amazon.

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