Indians from the Enawene Nawe tribe in the Brazilian Amazon occupied and shut down the site of a huge hydroelectric dam Oct. 11, destroying equipment, in an attempt to save the river that runs through their land. The Enawene Nawe say the 77 dams to be built on the River Juruena will pollute the water and stop the fish reaching their spawning grounds. Fish is crucial to the Enawene Nawe’s diet as they do not eat red meat. It also plays a vital part in their rituals. “If the fish get sick and die so will the Enawene Nawe,” said one member of the tribe.
Companies led by the world’s largest soya producers, the Maggi family, are pushing for the construction of the dams. Soya baron Blairo Maggi is also the governor of Mato Grosso state.
The Enawene Nawe number only 500, and live in one village in large communal houses around a central square. They were first contacted in 1974 by Jesuit missionaries. They chose for many years to have very little interaction with the outside world, but threats to their land have led them to campaign vigorously for their rights.
From Survival International, Oct. 13
See our last post on the struggle for the Amazon.