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The Apinajé volunteer brigade is the first one formed entirely by women in the Amazon transition region. Certified by Ibama's Prevfogo program, they fight to preserve nature in their territory.
Positioned at the head of a squad of women, Marlucia Apinajé gives the commands for the beginning of the count. After listing, one by one, the position they occupy in the line, they repeat in a loud and firm tone, "We are 29."
Dressed to fight fire, the 29 indigenous women will debut the first female volunteer brigade in the Amazon. They are from the Apinajé Indigenous Land (TI), in the north of Tocantins, and go into the field months after completing a course certified by the Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (Ibama).
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May is when a brigade hired by Ibama's Prevfogo program, operating in the region since 2014, conducts prescribed burning. According to this method, fire is managed in a controlled manner in the vegetation at strategic points. This prevents the spread of fires during the most critical dry phase, which runs from August to October.
Maria Aparecida Apinajé, a teacher, is also part of the volunteer squad that works with the hired fire brigade. She is one of the creators of the initiative, inspired by the Xerente female brigade, which works in the Cerrado vegetation, but which, according to the jurisdiction map, is inside the Legal Amazon.
"We seek to increase the protagonism of indigenous women. Our project is to preserve, maintain our traditions, bring environmental education, raising awareness against burning, against the destruction of our territory," explains Cida, as she is called.