This story excerpt was translated from Portuguese. To read the original story in full, visit Mongabay Brasil. You may also view the original story on the Rainforest Journalism Fund website here. Our website is available in English, Spanish, bahasa Indonesia, French, and Portuguese.
Aldeli de Jesus Ribeiro, or Pan Akroá Gamella, has scars all over her body, the result of gun wounds, stab wounds, sticks, and kicks suffered in the Gamella Massacre, a violent attack against the Indigenous people of Viana, a municipality in the Baixada Maranhense region 214 km from São Luís, which occurred on April 30, 2017.
Five years later, Aldeli finds strength to celebrate. "I lived again," he summarizes, remembering the day he was shot in the back, had his wrists and left leg severed, two deep cuts on his head — one of them generating a deep crack on his forehead — in addition to a laceration in his mouth, causing the loss of five teeth.
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On the shores of the lush Lake Aquiri, in the village of Centro dos Antero, in his beautiful wooden house painted in tropical tones, surrounded by ornamental plants and fruit trees, Aldeli celebrates his rebirth — noticeable in his Indigenous name, Pan, which means "seed" in the language of the Gamella.