The indigenous ‘guardians’ giving their lives for their ancestral lands

indigenous guardians of the amazon rainforest
Photo: Marcelo Camargo/ABr

On a clear enough day, you could probably see the indigenous territory of Araribóia from space. Not because of its size—at 4,130 square kilometers it’s comparable to Los Angeles—but because of its color. In the heart of the northeastern state of Maranhão, the Araribóia is made up of untouched Amazon rainforest vegetation, making this Spain-shaped island of deep, lush green stand out against the pale browns of its surrounding areas.

Since 1990, Araribóia has been protected by the federal government as a demarcated indigenous territory. This means the land belongs to the traditional communities living there and the entry of...

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