The Munduruku are Indigenous People who have lived on the area around the Tapajós River, in the heart of the Brazilian Amazon, for centuries. Today, there are more than 12,000 Munduruku living in the region. They depend on the river for food, transportation and the survival of their cultural and spiritual practices, and they’ve been fighting to protect their traditional land for more than three decades.
Even though the Munduruku have been living there for centuries, a massive hydro dam was planned to be built in the Tapajós Basin. The project would flood an area the size of New York City and would directly impact the lives of the Munduruku. Greenpeace joined forces with the Munduruku, and millions of people like you around the globe stood in solidarity with them to stop the São Luiz do Tapajós dam last year.
The project was denied, but the Munduruku territory is still vulnerable. There are still other 40 dams planned for the Tapajós River basin, and only the official recognition of their territory by the Brazilian government can protect it.
To fight for the recognition of their territory, the Munduruku have produced the Map of Life, the result of a rich and intense process that took more than two years to complete. The map is a testament to how the Munduruku way of life is interconnected and interdependent with the nature that surrounds them.
From sacred places to forest resources, the map portrays the practices that are fundamental to their survival.
This week, the Munduruku joined more than 3,000 Indigenous People from all over Brazil in the country’s capital to fight for their rights. They not only installed signs in front of the government building and distributed the Map of Life to people on the streets, but also delivered the map to the Ministry of Justice, demanding they officially recognise and protect the Munduruku territory.
Building dams in the Tapajós River Basin would flood thousands of square kilometres, impacting the biodiversity of the region and affecting the communities who have depended on it for centuries. It’s time to tell the Brazilian government that destructive energy is not clean energy, and that the Munduruku deserve recognition of their traditional land to fully protect it from future projects.
More than 1.2 million people have already signed the petition to stand with the Munduruku. Join them!
Diego Gonzaga is a content editor for Greenpeace US.