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Story Publication logo June 21, 2022

"We Will Not Be Afraid,” Says Indigenous Leader in Javari (Portuguese)


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This story excerpt was translated from Portuguese. To read the original story in full, visit Agência Pública. You may also view the original story on the Rainforest Journalism Fund website here. Our website is available in English, Spanish, bahasa Indonesia, French, and Portuguese.

Atalaia do Norte (AM) - Kanamari Indians paid tribute on the morning of Tuesday, June 21, at the headquarters of Univaja (Union of Indigenous Peoples of the Javari Valley), in Atalaia do Norte (AM), to the indigenous activist Bruno Pereira and journalist Dom Phillips, who were murdered on Sunday, June 5. Women and men sang the Kanamari chant that Bruno sang during a break in a Javari expedition years ago, and which went viral on social networks last week.

At the headquarters of Univaja, Indigenous people paid homage to Bruno and Dom: "It wasn't an Indigenous person who fell, it was a white man. But this guy was our comrade in the struggle, he was a friend of the Indigenous peoples."

"At this moment, my relatives, we cannot show our adversaries, let's say our enemies, our weakness. What happened to Bruno and Don Phillips makes us strengthen our fight, our claim, for future generations. Today, we are here for future generations, but tomorrow they will be the ones fighting for us," said Univaja's coordinator, Paulo Marubo, into the microphone.

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The Indigenous leader said that a new inspection is already being planned to curb illegal fishing in the Vale do Javari Indigenous Land. "We are already organizing another action to be taken. What happened to our friends, Bruno and Dom, will not intimidate us. We will not be afraid. Because we were born for this, to defend our territory."

Paulo Marubo said he felt "guilty" because Univaja invited Bruno Pereira to assist the organization and activity of the indigenous surveillance teams. The invitation came from Marubo leaders after Bruno left, under pressure, the coordination of isolated and recently contacted Indians at Funai, in Brasilia. The indigenist took an unpaid leave of absence in 2019 and started helping the Univaja surveillance project.

Paulo Marubo, Univaja's coordinator: "What happened to our friend Bruno and Dom will not intimidate us." Photo by José Medeiros/Agência Pública. Brazil, 2022.

Photo by José Medeiros/Agência Pública. Brazil, 2022.

Photo by José Medeiros/Agência Pública. Brazil, 2022.