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Story Publication logo June 23, 2022

Kayapó Indians Were Threatened by Armed Fisherman the Week Bruno and Dom Disappeared (Portuguese)


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

Indigenous guards were approaching a group of 15 fishermen on the Xingu River, in a region close to Indigenous lands in southern Pará, when the man displayed a 12-gauge shotgun in a threatening tone.

As soon as the news about the threats suffered by Indigenous people on the eve of the disappearance of the Indigenist activist Bruno Pereira and the English journalist Dom Phillips, in the Javari Valley (AM), an armed fisherman decided to do the same against the Kayapó who work in the protection of the Menkragnoti and Badjonkore Indigenous Lands, in the south of Pará.

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Two weeks ago, Indigenous guards were patrolling the Xingu River, which borders the demarcated areas, when they approached six boats to give them advice on how to prevent predatory fishing, which is common in the region. One of the approximately 15 fishermen approached, "upset," interrupted the Indigenous people to take issue with them. In a threatening tone, the man made a point of showing them a "12-gauge repeating rifle," according to reports from the monitoring team received by Repórter Brasil.

Boats seized by the Kayapó during an operation against predatory fishing in the Xingu River in 2018. Image by Instituto Raoni/Divulgação. Brazil, 2022.

"The fisherman used the same lines that we saw on TV in the case of Vale do Javari. He said that the area does not belong to the Indigenous people, that they had the right to fish there, and that their access cannot be impeded," denounced one of the members of the protection group, whose identity will be kept confidential.

Although threats from fishermen are nothing new, the intimidation with the use of firearms was an act unheard of since the Indigenous people started a permanent patrol in that part of the Xingu in 2019 in order to put an end to predatory fishing.

"We have no support from Funai to inspect fishermen, hunters, miners, and loggers," says Megaron Txucarramãe, Kayapó leadership. Image by Fernando Martinho/Repórter Brasil. Brazil, 2022.

Operation of the Kayapó, together with Ibama, seizes irregular instruments used in predatory fishing in the Xingu. Image by Instituto Raoni/Divulgação. Brazil, 2022.

Raoni Metuktire, Brazil's main indigenous leader, hopes that his ancestral land, the Kapôt Nhinore, will be the next demarcated area. Image by Fernando Martinho/Repórter Brasil. Brazil, 2022.

In their actions against illegal fishing, the Kayapó have already confiscated more than half a ton of fish, such as piranha. Tucunaré, pintado, and pacu are also coveted by illegal fishermen. Image by Instituto Raoni/Divulgação. Brazil, 2022.