Brazil seeks to mine, dam and drill on Indian lands


In Brasília this month, indigenous demonstrators denounced the Bolsonaro administration’s bid to allow mining and other large extractive projects on indigenous lands. (Photo by Tiago Miotto/Cimi)

When Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro sent Congress a bill this month to allow mining, hydroelectric dam construction and oil and gas drilling on indigenous lands, he made good on one of his most controversial campaign promises. The move did not come as a shock. Before and since taking office on Jan. 1, 2019, the right-wing Bolsonaro has condemned the country’s indigenous reserves, portraying these protected federal lands as an impediment to economic development. Nor has he hidden his scorn for the indigenous peoples living in reserves and other tribal areas, comparing them to animals in zoos, and warning they must “adapt or vanish.” But the bill, presented to Congress on Feb. 6, has nevertheless drawn intense criticism from an array of stakeholders ranging from academics and indigenous-rights advocates to lawmakers and prosecutors with an independent government-watchdog agency. Critics not only question the legality of the legislation; they... [Log in to read more]

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