"Let the River Run"

Brazil's Indigenous Peoples Fight for Their Rights Along the Xingu and in Río

Construction of the Belo Monte monster dam poses a serious threat to the indigenous communities that live along the majestic Xingu River. The fight to defend the territories and rights of the Xikrin, Juruna, Arara, Kayapó and other indigenous peoples heated up before, during, and after the Río+20 Earth Summit, in Río de Janeiro from June 20th to 22nd.

Amazon Watch, together with its partners International Rivers and Rainforest Action Network, sent a team in early June to help ensure the voices of indigenous leaders were heard in the media, and to provide other strategic support. The following posts include related blogs, press releases, and media articles.

No Dam Can Take That From Us

No Dam Can Take That From Us

October 18, 2012

After 35 days of protests and 11 days of occupation, the indigenous peoples and traditional groups occupying the Belo Monte construction site have left, with their heads held high. Most of them were heard for the very first time; and that fact alone was already a sign of victory.

Frontline Journal: The Belo Monte Re-Occupation

Frontline Journal: The Belo Monte Re-Occupation

October 11, 2012

With my heart racing and under a light rain, I climb up the Pimental cofferdam, together with the indigenous warriors who are writing their own history here. Within minutes the raised earthen dam bed is taken by people who have lived here much longer than we can imagine.

Local Alliance Renews Occupation of Belo Monte Dam in Brazil

Local Alliance Renews Occupation of Belo Monte Dam in Brazil

Protestors paralyze construction and vow to maintain occupation until dam builders comply with mitigation requirements

October 9, 2012

Altamira, Brazil – Yesterday some 120 indigenous demonstrators from the Xipaia, Kuruaia, Parakanã, Arara, Juruna and Assurini peoples united with a group of fishermen who have maintained a steadfast 24-day occupation of the Belo Monte dam's main work camp, paralyzing construction.

Xingu Rising

Xingu Rising

September 1, 2012

A new short film about the struggle to defend the Xingu River and its people from the Belo Monte Dam and the Brazilian government's development plans for the Amazon.

Belo Monte Halted: Norte Energia's Lies and Our Demands to Reverse the Damage Done

Belo Monte Halted: Norte Energia's Lies and Our Demands to Reverse the Damage Done

August 20, 2012

The decision partially upheld an appeal by the Federal Public Ministry and annulled one of the biggest affronts to the Federal Constitution and to the International Labor Organization Convention 169 committed by the Brazilian government in the last years.

Belo Monte Dam Suspended by Brazilian Appeals Court

Belo Monte Dam Suspended by Brazilian Appeals Court

"Human rights and environmental protection cannot be subordinated to narrow business interests."

August 15, 2012

Altamira, Brazil – A high-level court yesterday suspended construction of the controversial Belo Monte dam project on the Amazon's Xingu River, citing overwhelming evidence that indigenous people had not been properly consulted prior to government approval of the project.

Belo Monte's Latest Legal Challenge – Will It Stand?

Belo Monte's Latest Legal Challenge – Will It Stand?

August 14, 2012

I don't want to be pessimistic, but I'm a Brazilian lawyer, and I have lost faith in our justice system. We should all hope that this decision will endure, but be prepared that at any minute, it can again be overturned.

Looking Back at Rio+20 & the Xingu Occupation

Looking Back at Rio+20 & the Xingu Occupation

August 2, 2012

Initially, my plan wasn't to disrupt the meeting, but I couldn't bite my tongue as claims were made about Brazil achieving "zero deforestation" with a great sustainable development plan. So I stood up and told the truth.

It's Not Too Late to Stop the Belo Monte Dam!

It's Not Too Late to Stop the Belo Monte Dam!

July 13, 2012

Brazil's indigenous and environmental agencies are deciding whether to authorize the irrevocable diversion of the Xingu River. Join thousands of others in sending a message to FUNAI and IBAMA today.

After 21 Days, Indigenous Occupation of Belo Monte Dam Ends in Discord

After 21 Days, Indigenous Occupation of Belo Monte Dam Ends in Discord

"Nothing has been resolved. The talks ended with no agreement with our communities."

July 12, 2012

Altamira, Brazil – Indigenous communities of the middle Xingu ended their occupation of the Belo Monte dam's main cofferdam following two days of talks with Norte Energia. The action brought a notable level of national and international visibility to their concerns over the project's impacts on their health, livelihoods and environment, and forced the Brazilian government and Norte Energia to take these concerns seriously.

Amazonian Indigenous Leaders Call for Suspension of Construction License for Belo Monte Dam

Amazonian Indigenous Leaders Call for Suspension of Construction License for Belo Monte Dam

July 9, 2012

Altamira, Brazil – Indigenous leaders representing six tribes affected by the Belo Monte Dam complex along the Amazon's Xingu River sent a letter today to President Dilma Rousseff and other government authorities calling for immediate suspension of the controversial project's Installation License.

Occupy Belo Monte

Occupy Belo Monte

July 6, 2012

Scenes from the indigenous-led occupation of Pimental Island on the Xingu River. More than 300 people representing 21 indigenous villages and 9 different ethnicities are participting so far.

Day 16: Reflections from the Belo Monte Occupation

Day 16: Reflections from the Belo Monte Occupation

July 6, 2012

The indigenous-led occupation of the main Belo Monte dam construction site is a key battleground for the future of the entire Amazon rainforest. It is powerful to be here on the ground supporting indigenous peoples in amplifying their voices.

Day 11: Parakana Leaders Join the Belo Monte Occupation

Day 11: Parakana Leaders Join the Belo Monte Occupation

July 1, 2012

Today was marked by the arrival of nearly 30 Parakana leaders. In all, 17 indigenous villages from six different ethnicities are currently represented at the occupation demanding that construction of the Belo Monte dam stop.

The Dam Boom in the Amazon

The Dam Boom in the Amazon

July 1, 2012The New York Times

A confrontation between the insatiable appetite for energy and the enduring need for habitability is under way in Brazil as it moves aggressively to harness the power of its rivers with plans for dozens of hydroelectric dams.

Day 10 of the Indigenous Occupation of the Belo Monte Pimental Dam Site

Day 10 of the Indigenous Occupation of the Belo Monte Pimental Dam Site

June 30, 2012

The meeting with Norte Energia failed to reach any agreement. The Xikrin, the Arara and the Juruna of the Big Bend are still occupying the site, and we are calling for support to allow us to bring more of our people to join the occupation.

Belo Monte Occupation Day 9: Protest Continues After Failed Talks with Dam-Building Consortium

Belo Monte Occupation Day 9: Protest Continues After Failed Talks with Dam-Building Consortium

June 29, 2012

The indigenous occupation of the Belo Monte construction site entered its ninth day today. More indigenous people are reportedly joining the occupation each day, demanding that the construction stop.

Brazil Tribes Call for Halt to Dam Project

Brazil Tribes Call for Halt to Dam Project

Tribes say government broke promises and are constructing dam that cuts the flow of river where they fish

June 28, 2012Al Jazeera

Work on part of a huge hydroelectric dam being built in the Brazilian Amazon has been halted by a tribal protest for an eighth day.

Accompanying Sheyla Juruna at Rio+20

Accompanying Sheyla Juruna at Rio+20

June 28, 2012

Imagine that your livelihood, community, and entire culture are facing imminent destruction from the Belo Monte dam. International bodies have repeatedly sounded the alarm, yet the project advances with the force of a thousand bulldozers. What do you do?

Support Indigenous Occupation of the Belo Monte Dam Site Now Entering Day 7

Support Indigenous Occupation of the Belo Monte Dam Site Now Entering Day 7

June 27, 2012

In the final days of the Rio+20 Earth Summit, several hundred indigenous people affected by the Belo Monte Dam began an occupation of the construction site. The occupation is gaining strength as more inhabitants join the blockade.

Faces of the Lost: Photos from Brazil’s Controversial Belo Monte Dam

Faces of the Lost: Photos from Brazil’s Controversial Belo Monte Dam

June 27, 2012Time

Belo Monte will be the world's third-largest hydroelectric project and will displace up to 20,000 people while diverting the Xingu River and flooding as much as 230 square miles of rainforest.

Brazil's Indians Distrustful of Mining Bill

Brazil's Indians Distrustful of Mining Bill

June 25, 2012Financial Times

Even as world leaders signed off on new commitments to sustainable development in Rio de Janeiro last week, Brazilian politicians were debating a bill that would open up the nation's vast indigenous territories for mining.

Living Art Resistance at Rio+20

Living Art Resistance at Rio+20

June 20, 2012

Nearly 1500 people used Rio's Flamengo Beach as a canvas. Their bodies formed the lines of an enormous image promoting the importance of free-running rivers, truly clean energy sources like solar power and including indigenous knowledge as part of the solution to climate issues.

"Rivers for Life" Human Banner at Rio+20

"Rivers for Life" Human Banner at Rio+20

June 19, 2012

Nearly 1500 people used Rio’s Flamengo Beach as a canvas. Their bodies formed the lines of an enormous image promoting the importance of free-running rivers, truly clean energy and including indigenous knowledge as part of the solution to climate issues.

What Bulldozers and Cynical Politics Do, Shovels and Grassroots Resistance Undo

What Bulldozers and Cynical Politics Do, Shovels and Grassroots Resistance Undo

June 15, 2012

300 indigenous people, small farmers, fisherfolk, and local residents occupied the Belo Monte Dam project, removing a strip to restore the Xingu's natural flow and "freeing the river."

Freeing the Xingu

Freeing the Xingu

June 15, 2012

Seeing the majestic Xingu River being dammed is heartbreaking; this morning, there was hope. Today's daring grassroots action was one of the most inspirational acts of resistance I have witnessed in 15 years as Executive Director.

On the Eve of Rio+20: Ruin and Resistance on the Xingu

On the Eve of Rio+20: Ruin and Resistance on the Xingu

June 14, 2012Jungle Dispatch

The Brazilian government is moving ahead with construction of the third-largest dam in the world and one of the Amazon's most controversial "development" projects – the Belo Monte Dam.

Share

Yes, I will donate to protect the Amazon!

"The work you do is vital, and I am happy to support it."
– Charlotte R. A.

DONATE NOW