Brazilian Indians slam oil company over uncontacted tribes

This Ashéninka woman lives right on the edge of uncontacted Murunahua territory where Petrobras want to explore for oil.
This Ashéninka woman lives right on the edge of uncontacted Murunahua territory where Petrobras want to explore for oil.
© David Hill/Survival

Brazilian Indians have denounced plans by their country’s state oil company to explore for oil in the territory of uncontacted tribes in Peru.

‘We reject the conduct of the Brazilian company Petrobras. . . In our view, Petrobras’s intention to start exploring for oil and gas in the Peruvian Yurua River region, in a concession including indigenous communities and territory inhabited by uncontacted tribes, is in flagrant contradiction of its claims to social and environmental responsibility in Brazil, and with laws that it is obliged to respect in our country,’ reads a statement by an organisation of Brazilian Indians, APIWTXA, based near the border with Peru.

APIWTXA points out that the area where Petrobras can explore, called ‘Lot 110’, includes ‘almost all of the Murunahua Reserve’. This reserve was created in 1997 and is intended for the exclusive use of uncontacted Murunahua Indians. Petrobras is Brazil’s state-controlled oil and gas company.

APIWTXA’s statement also rejects the Peruvian government’s ‘development policy’ in the Yurua region, saying that logging activity has led to the invasion of uncontacted tribes’ reserves and contact with, and the forced migration of, some isolated Indians.