Bolsonaro order seen as blow to indigenous rights


Indigenous Enawenê-Nauê people of western Mato Grosso state in dancing and singing ritual. (Photo by Guilherme Cavalli/Cimi)

An executive order issued by new Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has fanned concern that his government will undermine the rights of Brazil’s 900,000 indigenous people, long considered a bulwark against deforestation, in order to open more land for logging, mining and farming. The order, issued Jan. 1, restructures the government’s 22 ministries. It takes particular aim at the National Indian Foundation (Funai), the agency charged with protecting indigenous peoples and culture, stripping it of its ability to designate and demarcate indigenous lands. That function, to be moved to the Agriculture Ministry, has been among Funai’s most important because it is crucial to granting indigenous communities rights to their traditional lands. Scientists argue support for indigenous rights is key to the survival not only of traditional communities, but also of the Amazon rainforest, home to 97% of the 1.17 million square kilometers (452,000 sq miles) of land covered by Brazil’s demarcated... [Log in to read more]

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