Amazon tribe block roads to halt hydro project

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)

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  1. an update.
    Hey, here’s an update…

    From Survival International

    The remote Enawene Nawe tribe have dismantled their three day blockade of one of the main highways in Mato Grosso state and are set to travel to the Brazilian capital, BrasĂ­lia, to meet government officials.

    The Indians mounted the blockade on 31 May to protest against plans to build a series of hydroelectric dams along the Juruena river, which they say will destroy their vital fishing grounds.

    According to local press reports, several neighbouring tribes joined the protest and about 100 Indians armed with bows and arrows effectively isolated the northwestern part of the state.

    A commission composed of government officials and the police negotiated with the Enawene Nawe who agreed to halt their blockade if they could meet with the president of FUNAI (the Brazilian government’s Indian affairs department) to raise their concerns.

    A delegation of Enawene Nawe set out today on the long journey to BrasĂ­lia.