Enawene Nawe Indians mount blockade

Indians from the Enawene Nawe tribe mounted a blockade of a road bridge in the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso on 18 May, to protest against a complex of dams to be built upriver from their land. The blockade was lifted five days later when government officials promised to meet with them to discuss their concerns.

The Mato Grosso state government plans to build the hydroelectric dams on the river Juruena. Companies led by the world’s largest soya producers, the Maggi family, are pushing for the construction of the dams. But the Enawene Nawe, who eat no red meat, say that if the dams are built, the fish they rely on will no longer be able to reach their spawning grounds.

The Enawene Nawe mounted the blockade alongside several other Amazon tribes – the Rikbaktsa, Cinta Larga, Arara, Mynky, Irantxe, Kayabi, Apiaka and Munduruku. The Indians are also demanding compensation for dam projects already under construction on indigenous land, and improvements to the health service the government provides to indigenous peoples in the region.