Land conflict between indigenous groups and illegal miners turns deadly

The Yanomami indigenous reservation has seen a slew of armed confrontations, with traditional communities facing off against trespassers. Things came to a head this week, with a firefight leaving three people dead

Yanomami indigenous reserve
Yanomami indigenous reserve. Photo: Leonardo Prado/PG/FotosPúblicas

The indigenous lands of Brazil’s Amazon have long been coveted by predatory interests, from loggers and cattle ranchers to wildcat miners. President Jair Bolsonaro never tires of stressing that, beyond the abundance of flora and fauna, these reservations are also home to some of the world’s most valuable minerals, buried not so deep underground. The 1988 Constitution guarantees the safety and preservation of these territories, and the traditional communities rely on the protection of federal agencies to ward off trespassers and avoid land conflicts.

However, this changed when Mr. Bolsonaro took office in 2019.

A long-time supporter of mining...

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