Amazon tribe hit by soya makes British TV news headlines

March 8, 2006

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The remote Enawene Nawe tribe of the Brazilian Amazon made British national TV news headlines yesterday in a hard-hitting report on the clearance of their land for soya plantations.

Click here to see an ITV report on soya farming threatening the Enawene Nawe.

The report, on ITV's lunchtime, early evening and late evening news bulletins, came on the first day of President Lula's state visit to the UK. ‘It was only thirty years ago these Indians had their first contact with the outside world,' said ITV's science editor Lawrence McGinty, speaking from the Enawene Nawe's fishing camp. ‘This contact is now threatening their very existence.'

For other remote Brazilian tribes, it is already too late. In Rondônia state, the Akuntsu tribe are reduced to six people, while another lone man is thought to be the last surviving member of his tribe. Traumatised by his experiences, he lives in a hole in the ground and shoots arrows at anyone who comes near.

The Enawene Nawe Indians' land in Mato Grosso state is being rapidly cleared for soya plantations and cattle ranching. Mato Grosso state governor and soya baron Blairo Maggi, one of the world's largest soya producers, is planning to build hydroelectric dams on their land to provide energy to the soya industry. Maggi is lobbying the federal government not to recognise any more Indian land in his state.

Enawene Nawe leader Marikeroseene told ITV, ‘In the last two years, the felling has risen dramatically. It has doubled…. The situation is unbearable.'

Survival's director Stephen Corry said today, ‘Deforestation in the Amazon is threatening some of Brazil's most vulnerable tribes, including many who are uncontacted. Full legal recognition of their land is the key to their future and must not be delayed any further.'

Photos and footage available. For more information call Miriam Ross on (+44) (0)20 7687 8734 or email [email protected]

Enawene Nawe