Between August 9th and 12th of 2010, over 400 Indigenous and riverine people, victims of dams, and farmers from the Amazon region gathered at the port of the city of Altamira, Pará, Brazil at the riverside of the Xingu river, to discuss the impacts of major infrastructure projects in the Amazon region, with emphasis on the Belo Monte dam.
The camp, named “In Defense of the Xingu: Against Belo Monte!” was organized by the Coordination of Indigenous Organizations of the Brazilian Amazon (COIAB), the largest representative body of indigenous peoples and organizations in that region, in partnership with the Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (APIB), the Indigenist Missionary Council (CIMI), the Instituto Socio Ambiental (ISA) and the Movimento Xingu Vivo para Sempre. Kayapó chief Raoni, who has led the Indigenous resistance to Belo Monte over the last twenty years, called for the unification of all ethnic groups in the Amazon against the Belo Monte hydroelectric.
The protest camp closed with a march through the city of Altamira to bring attention to how the Belo Monte hydroelectric dam, as well as other large projects in the Amazon impact Indigenous lands and traditional populations. A final document of the demands and resolutions defined during the event will be forwarded to the national Indigenous Free Land Encampment (Acampamento Terra Livre) to be held next week, August 16 thru 20, at Campo Grande in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul. The document will then be presented to presidential candidates.
The Altamira meeting is the first large gathering of all groups that are threatened by Belo Monte after the tumultuous auction of the hydroelectric on April 20th, 2010. The mobilization sealed the unity between the Indigenous movement of the Xingu Basin with riverine peoples and farmers threatened by the dam in unified resistance against the project.
Source: Conselho Indigenista Missionário (Cimi)