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'Who defends their land today risks being shot,' says indigenous leader

by ace
'Who defends their land today risks being shot,' says indigenous leader

Brazil

22:00 21.11.2019 (updated 22:01 21.11.2019) Short URL

Munduruku Indians led by 15 village chiefs blamed President Jair Bolsonaro for the increase in illegal mining on indigenous lands in the Amazon.

They also urged the government not to resume construction to build hydroelectric dams on the Tapajós River, which runs through its ancestral lands and is one of the largest clearwater tributaries of the Amazon.

The 50 Munduruku, including children, faced a week-long bus ride to Brasilia and attempted to meet Funai president Marcelo Xavier. However, the indigenous said to the news agency Reuters Xavier sent an aide to meet them, although he was in the Funai building.

A Funai spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment from Reuters.

Bolsonaro says the quality of life of indigenous peoples will improve with mining and agriculture on their land, but most village chiefs say these practices will kill their culture.

"We have come to raise our voice because we are threatened. They want to legalize mining on our territory, build hydroelectric dams, ports, railroads and soybean waterways," Maria Leusa Kaba Munduruku told a news conference.

She said illegal logging is on the rise and illegal miners are invading the region in large numbers after Bolsonaro said he intended to regulate mining on indigenous lands.

The Tapajós basin is one of the regions of the Amazon where most illegal mining occurs, polluting rivers with mercury. About 13,750 Mundurukus live in 112 villages in the region.

"Our bosses have been threatened. Those who defend their land today risk being shot," he said. . (tagsToTranslate) FUNAI President refuses to receive indigenous people

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