Munduruku warriors. A proud indigenous society, today numbering 13,000, the Munduruku are making a defiant stand against the Brazilian government’s plan to build dozens of dams on the Tapajós River and its tributaries. Photo by Mauricio Torres
Brazil has dynamited an indigenous sacred site, the equivalent of Christian “Heaven,” to make way for the Teles Pires dam, according to a recent Monga Bay piece by Sue Branford and Maurício Torres. This desecration has devastated the Munduruku culture.
See this video report:
Highlights from the Monga Bay article:
- Four dams are being built on the Teles Pires River — a major tributary of the Tapajós River — to provide Brazil with hydropower, and to possibly be a first step toward constructing an industrial waterway to transport soy and other commodities from Mato Grosso state, in the interior, to the Atlantic coast.
- Those dams are being built largely without consultation with impacted indigenous people, as required by the International Labor Organization’s Convention 169, an agreement which Brazil signed.
- A sacred rapid, known as Sete Quedas, the Munduruku “Heaven”, was dynamited in 2013 to build the Teles Pires dam. A cache of sacred artefacts was also seized by the dam construction consortium and the Brazilian state.
- The Indians see both events as callous attacks on their sacred sites, and say that these desecrations will result in the destruction of the Munduruku as a people — 13,000 Munduruku Indians live in 112 villages, mainly along the upper reaches of the Tapajós River and its tributaries in the heart of the Amazon.