This report was originally published on December 11, 2014 by Agência Pública, with the support of Mongabay, in two parts: “The Battle for the Munduruku Borders” and “Decades of Struggle for the Tapajós”, both written by reporter Bruno Fonseca. They were adapted and will be published on Global Voices in three installments.
The Munduruku people are made up of more than 13,000 men, women and children, who live by the 850 kilometers of the Tapajós River and its tributaries located in north and center-west Brazil. Most of their villages will feel the impact of a government project in the region: the construction of seven hydroelectric dams on the Tapajós and another two already underway on the Teles Pires river, a branch of the Tapajós that runs between the states of Mato Grosso and Pará.
The Munduruku have four areas of indigenous lands officially sanctioned in both states. But the territory of Sawré Muybu, considered sacred, was never officially recognized by the Brazilian government. Its borders could become a major obstacle in the path of President Dilma Rousseff’s project to explore the Tapajós watershed.