Brazilian Indians Offered Alternative to Illegal Mining

Starting the second week of July, the National Indian Foundation (Funai, Fundação Nacional do Àndio) will invest US$ 1.44 million (3.5 million reais) on life quality improvement projects for 1,400 indigenous people of the Cinta Larga tribe.

The Cinta Larga occupies today 2.7 million hectares of homologated land in the northern state of Rondônia and in the northwest of Mato Grosso (in the indigenous lands of Roosevelt, Serra Morena, Aripuanã, and in the Aripuanã Indigenous Park).


“We will stop inspecting illegal diamond extraction, which is the job of the Federal Police, and which was using 80% of our resources for the region. For the first time, we do have a policy proposal for the Cinta Larga tribe that goes beyond emergency action plans,” said Izanoel dos Santos Sodré, coordinator of Funai’s Western Amazon Division.


He informed that the Cinta Larga Tribe Program includes courses on project elaboration, incentives to revitalize their culture, as well as training of indigenous environmental agents.


“The Cinta Larga people need to be aware of environmental damages produced by mining activities,” defended Izanoel.


For Almir Suruí­, coordinator of the Union of Indigenous Nations and People of Rondônia, northwest of the state of Mato Grosso, and southern part of the state of Amazonas (Cunpir), the only way to combat illegal mining is to offer alternative ways of income generation for the Cinta Larga community.


“It is also important that the Federal Police look for who actually finances the mining activity, and not only seek those who work on it,” said the indigenous leader.


Cunpir was created in 1996. It represents 12 thousand indigenous people who belong to 42 tribes, and works for the recognition and execution of indigenous rights, such as health-access and land guarantees.


Agência Brasil

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