The Enawene Nawe, a remote Amazonian tribe in the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso, are blockading a highway in protest at a series of hydroelectric dams that will destroy their vital fishing grounds. Companies led by the world·s largest soya producers, the Maggi family, are pushing for the vast complex of dams to be built along the Juruena river which flows through the tribe’s land. “The dams will bring our death, as they will raise the uncontrollable anger of the spirits,” said tribe members.
The Enawene Nawe fear the fish they rely on will no longer be able to reach their spawning grounds as a result of the dams. The tribe, who number only 450, are also protesting the encroachment of cattle ranchers who cut down the forests and pollute the rivers with pesticides. Local ranchers say they will apply for a court injunction to remove the Enawene Nawe blockade on highway MT-170.
Survival International director Stephen Corry said, “This tiny, unique tribe knows that its very survival is threatened by deforestation and the planned dams. The Brazilian government must wake up to this fact and protect the Enawene Nawe·s land before it is too late.” (GALDU, June 1)