Arara Indians fight for land

May 23, 2006

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The Arara Indians of Brazil are fighting to save their land, Cachoeira Seca (Dry Rapids). The territory has been invaded on a massive scale by settlers and loggers, who are disturbing the game the Arara hunt and transmitting diseases against which this remote group has little immunity.

Thirty Indigenous representatives, including some Arara who were travelling out of Cachoeira Seca for the first time, recently met in the Amazon town of Altamira to lobby the authorities. ‘Where will we raise our grandchildren?' asked Kygy Arara, an old man who attended the meeting.

Although FUNAI, the government's Indians affairs department, has established a group of experts to map – or demarcate – the land, its work has been hampered by legal challenges.

The Arara of Cachoeira Seca were contacted in 1989, and since then have suffered from diseases transmitted by outsiders.