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Story Publication logo June 23, 2022

Funai in Brasilia Barred Bruno During the First Inspection With Indigenous People in Javari (Portuguese)


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A series of investigative reports will look into the actions of the authorities and institutions in...

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This story excerpt was translated from Portuguese. To read the original story in full, visit Agência Pública. 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.

Headquarters of Funai in Vale do Javari, abandoned due to lack of structure. Image by José Medeiros. Brazil, 2022.
  • Funai (National Indian Foundation) questioned Bruno's presence among the Indigenous people and did not grant a timely authorization for his participation in the surveillance.
  • The Comptroller General of Brazil (CGU) agreed with Funai's view that there was an alleged conflict of interest, and from then on Bruno was under threat of administrative disciplinary proceedings.
  • Sought by Agência Pública last week, Funai in Brasilia refused to say whether or not the case was open against Bruno.

Documents from the Funai and the MPF (Federal Public Ministry) obtained exclusively by Agência Pública show how the command of the Indigenous body in Brasilia hindered surveillance action in the Vale do Javari Indigenous Land because of the presence of Bruno Pereira among the Indigenous people who would carry out surveillance in the territory. He was assassinated on June 5 along with journalist Dom Phillips.

For a year and two months, from 2018 to 2019, Bruno headed the Funai's specialized coordination for isolated and recently contacted Indians in Brasilia. He was removed from the position during the Jair Bolsonaro government amid political pressure and soon took an unpaid leave of absence. From there, he began working on organizing Indigenous surveillance teams as part of a project run by Univaja (Union of Indigenous Peoples of the Javari Valley), the main Indigenous entity in the region.

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In August of last year, Univaja notified Funai and the Javari authorities in writing that it would initiate a monitoring and surveillance activity against several environmental crimes occurring on the indigenous land. It would be the first activity of its kind in Javari within the project coordinated by Univaja.

According to a survey by the entity, in that month alone "six canoes of invaders were found floating on the Itaquaí river", the same river where Bruno and Dom would be murdered months later.

FUNAI employees in Vale do Javari protested for law, justice, and protection of Indigenous peoples on Friday, June 17. Image by José Medeiros. Brazil, 2022.