Environment

Malaria, mercury, and miners threaten Brazil’s Munduruku indigenous

The Munduruku indigenous reserve has long been coveted by illegal gold miners. They are bringing disease and danger to the local community

Malaria, mercury, and miners threaten Brazil's Munduruku indigenous
Environmental authorities bust wildcat mining fields inside the Munduruku land. Photo: Vinícius Mendonça/Ibama

Until the 19th century, the Tapajós river valley in the southwest of the Brazilian state of Pará was culturally dominated by the warriors of the Munduruku indigenous community. Today, with a population of slightly more than 14,000, the Munduruku people are fighting for survival, trying to hold on to the small slice of land they have left.

However, as it may have been in days gone by, the Munduruku are not under threat from a rival tribe. This time, their adversary is capital, represented by the interests of illegal gold miners and hydroelectric energy projects.

Alongside two neighboring lands,...

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