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Story Publication logo March 8, 2020

Defenders of the Sacred Hills (Portuguese)

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The indigenous peoples protect their communities’ tributaries, rich in minerals. These not only provide their livelihood, but they are also their only form of mobility in the area. Image by Luis Ángel. Colombia, undated.
English

This project explores the reality of indigenous peoples, located on the Inírida River in Guainía...

The indigenous people of Timbó live in raised wooden houses to protect themselves from snakes and wild animals. Image by Luis Ángel. Colombia, undated.
The indigenous people of Timbó live in raised wooden houses to protect themselves from snakes and wild animals. Image by Luis Ángel. Colombia, undated.

A handful of Indigenous guardians keep an eye on the jungle, hoping to prevent one of the recurring tragedies that the grandfathers see in their dreams: the destruction of their "sacred houses," the hills. A young man, a community leader, remembers the day when their peace was broken after learning that their territory was offered for concession (that is, lent) for 30 years to extract coltan. Coltan is one of the scarcest and, therefore, minerals most valued by the great technological industries around the world for manufacturing cellphones, computers, and electronic devices. The Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa is the country with the most reserves of this mineral, considered the new 'black or blue gold." In Latin America, Venezuela and Colombia have coltan mines. 

To read the full story in Portuguese, visit the InfoAmazonia website.

Um grupo de guardiões indígenas vigiam a selva para evitar uma das tragédias que os mais velhos veem em seus sonhos: a destruição de suas "casas sagradas", as colinas. Um jovem líder recorda o dia em que a tranquilidade foi interrompida na sua comunidade quando soube que o seu território tinha sido concedido por 30 anos para extrair coltan, um dos minerais mais escassos e preciosos das principais indústrias tecnológicas mundiais para a fabricação de celulares, computadores e dispositivos eletrônicos. Na África, a República Democrática do Congo tem a maior quantidade de reservas do que é considerado o novo "ouro preto ou azul". Na América Latina há minas na Venezuela e na Colômbia.