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Story Publication logo June 4, 2022

Xavante Indigenous Group Collects Seeds To Restore the Cerrado (Portuguese)


A waterfall covered in tropical lush forest treescape.

A group of Indigenous people is helping to preserve the plants of Brazil's Cerrado forest.

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This story excerpt was translated from Portuguese. To read the original story in full, visit Folha De S.Paulo. 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.

Image by Dado Galdieri. Brazil, 2022.

On a muggy morning last December, eight women and their cacique left the Ripá Xavante Indigenous village, in the Pimentel Barbosa Indigenous Land, aboard a truck. After a few kilometers, at the end of the road, they began a single file walk along almost imperceptible trails, hidden under the grass that reached their knees.

Little shade came from the thin, low, twisted trees. "It is the love we feel for the plants, for their fruits and seeds, that makes us walk under the burning sun without complaining," says Neusa Rehim'Watsi'õ Xavante, the chief's daughter.

Most of the approximately 20,000 Xavantes live in the cerrado in Mato Grosso, a mosaic of forest and pasture, conservation and deforestation, which covers 40% of the state. Although drier and less dense than the Amazon rainforest, the cerrado has exuberant and unique fauna and flora.

To view the photo gallery in full, please visit: https://www1.folha.uol.com.br/ambiente/2022/06/indigenas-xavantes-recolhem-sementes-para-restaurar-o-cerrado.shtml

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Xavante women during a walk to collect seeds from the cerrado near the Roncador mountain range, in the Pimentel Barbosa Indigenous Land, in Mato Grosso. Image by Dado Galdieri/Hilaea Media. Brazil, 2022.

Chief José Sumene (center left) leads Xavante warriors to the place where they will approach outsiders. Image by Dado Galdieri/Hilaea Media. Brazil, 2022.

Xavante woman collecting buriti fruit. Image by Dado Galdieri/Hilaea Media. Brazil, 2022.

An Indigenous woman walks with baskets full of fruits and seeds during an expedition of the Xavante tribe in the Pimentel Barbosa Indigenous Land. Image by Dado Galdieri/Hilaea Media. Brazil, 2022.