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Cattle ranchers have threatened Enawene Nawe Indians with reprisals if they attempt to visit the Rio Preto, an area where the Indians build dams to trap fish every year.
The ranchers tried to bribe the Enawene Nawe to give up their claim to the area by offering to build them fish tanks in compensation. The Indians refused the offer and say they will not give up the land of their ancestors.
An Enawene Nawe representative recently told Survival ‘The ranchers invading the Rio Preto are very bad people. All the Rio Preto is invaded now, but we will return there because it is ours.’
The ranchers have formed an association and mounted a smear campaign against the Enawene Nawe in the local media, alleging they are polluting the rivers by using fish poison and accusing some Enawene Nawe of stealing goods from their ranches.
Tensions are running high and a federal prosecutor is investigating threats made against the Enawene Nawe.
The Enawene Nawe and Survival have launched an urgent campaign for the Rio Preto area to be recognised officially as Enawene Nawe land before it is totally destroyed. To join their campaign click here
In a related issue, the trial of ranchers accused of murdering Vicente Cañas, the Jesuit missionary who made peaceful contact with the Enawene Nawe and fought for their land rights, is now beginning in Mato Grosso state. The Brazilian NGO CIMI is asking supporters of the Enawene Nawe to lobby the public prosecution service and media in Mato Grosso and call for an end to the impunity of the killers. For more information click: https://www.cimi.org.br/?system=news&eid=340
To read the Enawene Nawe’s recent letter to FUNAI, the government’s Indian affairs department, click here
To read an interview with Enawene Nawe elder Kawari click here