International Women's Day Alliance of Indigenous Legislators from Brazil and the US | Amazon Watch
Amazon Watch

International Women’s Day Alliance of Indigenous Legislators from Brazil and the US

March 9, 2020 | Eye on the Amazon

“On this day, I remember the struggle of Indigenous women within their territories and the fight for our land. May we remain firm in the struggle and resistance for better days for all.”

Brazilian Congresswoman Joenia Wapichana

“We hosted a historic delegation of congresswomen from Brazil last week to create a network of women working in solidarity to protect our environment and fight for human rights globally. I’m so grateful for these fierce women.”

US Congresswoman Deb Haaland

During International Women’s Day weekend, Brazil’s Bolsonaro met with Trump at Mar-a-Lago. Their meeting came right on the heels of a delegation that included Brazilian Congresswoman Joenia Wapichana at the invitation of US Congresswoman Deb Haaland, both of whom are the first Indigenous women elected to congress in their respective countries. The purpose of the delegation’s visit to Washington was to pursue a joint response to Jair Bolsonaro’s reorientation of Brazilian foreign policy and alignment with Donald Trump.

There has never been a more urgent time to support and highlight Indigenous leaders like Congresswomen Wapichana and Haaland, who are the antitheses of Trump and Bolsonaro. The Brazilian president recently delivered a blatantly racist speech in which he stated that Indigenous people, “are becoming human beings just like us.”

Wapichana provided expert testimony on the escalating threats against Indigenous people, the destruction of the Amazon, and the rollback of funding and leadership of instrumental government agencies and programs like FUNAI. In this video, Joenia Wapichana explains why she accepted Congresswoman Haaland’s invitation.

Joenia Wapichana is part of a large and growing movement of Indigenous women who are building people power to defend and protect the environment, advance Indigenous and women’s rights, and address climate change. This movement is essential to counter the oppression led by Bolsonaro and Trump, and we celebrate the transformative change that is possible when Indigenous women are represented in the halls of Congress in Brazil and the US.

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