Brazil Renews Protection Of Amazon Tribe For Only Six Months

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Brazil Renews Protection Of Amazon Tribe For Only Six Months

Photo: An undated image of two male members of the Piripkura tribe during an encounter with a FUNAI (Indigenous National Foundation) unit before they returned to live in the Amazon forest, Rondonia state, Brazil. Survival International/Bruno Jorge/Handout via REUTERS


The indigenous affairs agency in Brazil has renewed the protection of 242,500-hectares in the Mato Grosso state of the Amazon rainforest. There are only two known male members of the Piripkura tribe that live in isolation in the area.


Unlike the three-year extensions granted for the territory since 2008, the renewed protection will only last six months. The fate of the Piripkura tribe has become very uncertain under the rule of far-tight President Jair Bolsonaro, who has been against reservations for or giving too much land to too few people, and in favour of the expansion of mining and farming.


Rights advocates for indigenous people had pressed for a three-year extension. One of the advocates' groups, Survival International, has called the extension by the government, a 'stay of execution'.

Fiona Watson, director of research and advocacy at Survival International, said:

"We are still deeply concerned as the Piripkura's future still hangs very much in the balance, while the landgrabbers are circling round and poised to invade."

Brazil's public prosecutor urged the government to renew protection orders that are close to expiry for four more groups of indigenous people. It said that the country has the largest number of indigenous people in South America, with 114 groups living voluntarily in isolation.


Federal prosecutor Ricardo Pael, said the protection rules should be renewed until Funai takes a final decision on making Piripkura an official tribal reservation.


The men of the Piripkura tribe, Baita and his nephew Tamanduá, have only been seen in some meetings with Funai staffers.


Rita Piripkura, Baita's sister, is the only contact with the outside world that the men have after she married into a different tribe on the Karipuna reservation nearby.


In a recorded interview, Rita told Survival International:


"I'm worried they'll be killed. There are lots of outsiders around there. They could kill them both and there won't be anyone left. White men arrived at dawn and killed everyone. They killed nine of us. My family escaped in a canoe."


The Piripkura land is the most deforested area of any isolated Amazon people.


According to anthropologists, uncontacted tribes of the Amazon cannot survive without their land and are increasingly threatened by armed invaders who enter their territory for poaching, farming and mining purposes.


Since the election of Bolsonaro in 2018, who has praised Colonel George Custer for clearing the U.S. prairies of indigenous people, invasions have become bolder and more frequent.


Bolsonaro is also backing a bill in Congress that would limit the claims of indigenous land and open tribal reservations for commercial mining plantations.


It is feared that failure to renew such protection orders after six months would entail an eventual extinction of protected territories.


Fabricio Amorim, a former Funai employee now with OPI, an NGO advocating for the rights of isolated and recently contacted indigenous people, said:


"It will be the end of the Piripkura."


[h/t: Reuters]


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Thinking Humanity: Brazil Renews Protection Of Amazon Tribe For Only Six Months
Brazil Renews Protection Of Amazon Tribe For Only Six Months
The indigenous affairs agency in Brazil has renewed the protection of 242,500-hectares in the Mato Grosso state of the Amazon rainforest. There are on
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