Indigenous Women Protest Brazil’s President

Indigenous women took to Brazil's capital to protest Jair Bolsonaro, the country’s new president. This is what they want the international community to know. 🇧🇷

Sounding the alarm to the international community

On August 13 in Brazil, hundreds of indigenous women protested in Brasilia, the nation’s capital. “Historically, this is the first time that indigenous women have taken to the streets to show their opposition, willingness to fight and above all, their courage. Their courage to fight for their lives and today, to be in control of their destiny. They feel threatened by the policies of Brazil’s new president, Jair Bolsonaro, ” says Sonia Guajajara Guajajara tribe member. The Bolsonaro government wants to make towns and cities responsible for providing medical services to indigenous people, and community leaders fear local authorities lack the infrastructure and specialized units required. The federal government is currently in charge of healthcare, and indigenous communities are visited by specially trained professionals.

The roughly 900,000 indigenous people in Brazil live mainly in the Amazon region — which has already lost 1,814 square miles of forest since early 2019 — nearly twice as much as in 2018 based on data from Brazilian National Space Research Institute. “We’ve been experiencing a number of attacks that are violent and systematic, an absence of borders for our land, the issue of health and education, all of that’s in danger. We’re fighting against privatization and advocating for fairer, higher quality education. The Amazon is ours,” tells Joenia Wapichana, Representative of the state of Roraima.

The indigenous women are protesting to protect their land, demand better healthcare services and sound the alarm to the international community. “People need to respect our Brazil. Brazil is ours; it belongs to the indigenous people. Jair Bolsonaro has come here to destroy Brazil. We don’t want that. He can go back where he came from. We don’t want someone like him governing our country, Brazil,” adds Petjea Kraho, Kraho tribe member. Critics say Mr. Bolsonaro's positions have encouraged illegal mining and invasions of reserves. Last month, an indigenous leader was stabbed to death, reportedly by heavily armed gold miners who had invaded a remote indigenous territory.