By Flávio Montiel, International Rivers’ Brazil Manager
Brasília, April 25, 2023 – 19 years ago, 300 indigenous leaders held the first Terra Livre Camp (ATL) in Brasilia. It was the first important step of national mobilization, which led to the creation of the Articulação dos Povos Indigenas do Brasil (APIB).
This week in Brasilia, amongst Brazil’s main government buildings, business as usual gives way to a wave that brings the voice of nature. The annual Terra Livre Camp has returned and is expected to bring more than 8,000 people to Brasilia including staff from International Rivers.
With the theme, “The indigenous future is today. Without demarcation there is no democracy!”, the 2023 edition of Terra Livre Camp is bringing to Brasilia more than 30 activities divided into five thematic areas, including “Tell the people to move forward”, “Village the Policy”, “Demarcation Now”, “Indigenous Emergency” and “We will advance”. Each thematic area has plenary sessions on indigenous women, LGBT+ relatives, territorial and environmental management of indigenous lands, access to public policies, and indigenous peoples in voluntary isolation.
“Throughout the ATL, International Rivers will have parallel meetings with some indigenous leaders from Mato Grosso (Juruena and Tapajós basins, the Kayabi, Apiaká and Munduruku) and Rondonia (Madeira and Machado basins, the Tenharim, Gaviao and Arara), to discuss strategies for the suspension of environmental licensing processes for the Castanheira and Tabajara hydroelectric plants as well as the indigenous women’s movement and protection of rivers”, explains Flavio Montiel, International Rives’ Brazil Manager.
Interview with Indigenous Leader Joenia Wapichana
For Joenia Wapichana, President of the National Foundation of Indigenous People, the importance of legal protection of rivers and indigenous peoples is strongly connected. “The rivers are very important to maintain life quality and food security and indigenous peoples have been protecting the water sources, and sustainable consumption – not only for indigenous peoples but for all biodiversity, it is important to keep the forest standing. That’s why we fight so much against mercury, against pollution, against deforestation, because water, it is life”, she said.
Featured Photo: Kayabi Indigenous community members at the Terra Livre Camp march 2023