Occupy Belo Monte

The indigenous-led occupation of Pimental Island on the Xingu River started on July 21st. Steadily-growing groups of indigenous inhabitants of the Xingu are demanding that construction of the Belo Monte dam be halted until the dam-building consortium and the government can put in place effective measures to address the effects of the dam such as loss of fishing and hunting resources, loss of river navigation, and increased incidence of diseases.

More than 300 people from 21 indigenous villages and 9 different ethnicities are represented at the occupation so far. Many tribal elders have expressd outrage seeing how the initial earthen dam is now blocking a large part of the flow of their mighty river. On one side of the coffer dam, the river comes to a sudden halt; on the other side, there is no flow, just pools of stagnant water.

High-res versions of these photos are available here.

  • Brazil's majestic Xingu River, at grave risk from the current construction of the Belo Monte dam. (Photo: Rafael Salazar)
  • What the future holds for the once-mighty Middle Xingu with most of its flow diverted for the Belo Monte dam. (Photo: Rafael Salazar)
  • On June 21st, dozens of indigenous warriors from nearby communities peacefully took over the coffer dam (earthen road buit across a river, diverting the water's flow) crossing Pimental Island. The number has grown to several hundred people, representing nine indigenous peoples from 21 communities along the Middle Xingu river.
(Photo: Rafael Salazar)
  • (Photo: Rafael Salazar)
  • (Photo: Rafael Salazar)
  • (Photo: Rafael Salazar)
  • Tedjore Xikrin
(Photo: Rafael Salazar)
  • Bepto Xikrin (Photo: Rafael Salazar)
  • Meiti Xikrin (Photo: Rafael Salazar)
  • “We are here to reclaim our rights, which have to be respected. We are here to defend the future of our children, the future of our people because we depend on this river for our survival.” - Josinei Arara (Photo: Rafael Salazar)
  • Bekapri Xikrin (Photo: Rafael Salazar)
  • (Photo: Rafael Salazar)
  • Iredjo Xikrin (Photo: Rafael Salazar)
  • (Photo: Rafael Salazar)
  • Mukuka Xikrin, a leader and spokesperson for the current occupation of the Belo Monte dam construction site. (Photo: Rafael Salazar)
  • (Photo: Rafael Salazar)
  • Piydjo Xikrin (Photo: Rafael Salazar)
  • June 28, 2012 --- Day 8 of the indigenous occupation of the Belo Monte Dam Site along Brazil's Xingu River.  Tensions rise when the Federal Police arrives to notify the Xikrin, Arara, and Juruna peoples that the meeting with the President of Norte Energia (dam building consortium) will not take place at the site of the occupation but rather at the headquarters of Norte Energia.  More than 100 men, women and children eventually agreed to travel to Altamira.  The 3-hour meeting did not result in any agreements. Another meeting was scheduled for July 9th.  More than 300 people continue the occupation, stopping all construction on the main cofferdam on the Xingu river demanding that the project be suspended until the company fulfill its legal obligations to mitigate the serious impacts on 12 indigenous villages among these: inability to use the river for transportation, loss of fish, destruction of forest, loss of water quality, among other impacts. (Photo: Rafael Salazar)
  • (Photo: Rafael Salazar)
  • (Photo: Rafael Salazar)
  • Meeting between occupiers and NorteEnergia, part of the consortium of companies constructing the Belo Monte dam
(Photo: Rafael Salazar)
  • About seventy Xikrin Kayapo leaders in Altamira for the first of a series of talks between the indigenous communities along the Xingu River in the Brazilian Amazon affected by the Belo Monte Dam and the dam-building consortium Norte Energia. Credit: Rafael Salazar
  • About seventy Xikrin Kayapo leaders in Altamira for the first of a series of talks between the indigenous communities along the Xingu River in the Brazilian Amazon affected by the Belo Monte Dam and the dam-building consortium Norte Energia. Credit: Rafael Salazar
  • About seventy Xikrin Kayapo leaders in Altamira for the first of a series of talks between the indigenous communities along the Xingu River in the Brazilian Amazon affected by the Belo Monte Dam and the dam-building consortium Norte Energia. Credit: Rafael Salazar
  • About seventy Xikrin Kayapo leaders in Altamira for the first of a series of talks between the indigenous communities along the Xingu River in the Brazilian Amazon affected by the Belo Monte Dam and the dam-building consortium Norte Energia. Credit: Rafael Salazar
  • About seventy Xikrin Kayapo leaders in Altamira for the first of a series of talks between the indigenous communities along the Xingu River in the Brazilian Amazon affected by the Belo Monte Dam and the dam-building consortium Norte Energia. Credit: Rafael Salazar
  • Leiliani Juruna
(Photo: Atossa Soltani)
  • Mikael Juruna (10-year-old son of Jairson Juruna) at the cofferdam.
(Photo: Atossa Soltani)
  • (Photo: Atossa Soltani)
  • Mikael Juruna (10-year-old son of Jairson Juruna) at the cofferdam.
(Photo: Atossa Soltani)
  • Mikael Juruna (10-year-old son of Jairson Juruna) at the cofferdam.
(Photo: Atossa Soltani)
  • Onca Xikrin standing with Parakana warriors at the cofferdam.
(Photo: Atossa Soltani)
  • Parakana warriors.
(Photo: Atossa Soltani)
  • (Photo: Atossa Soltani)
  • Parakana warriors.
(Photo: Atossa Soltani)
  • Leiliani Juruna
(Photo: Atossa Soltani)
  • Onca Xikrin.
(Photo: Atossa Soltani)
  • Boat leaving cofferdam.
(Photo: Atossa Soltani)

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