Above photo: Thousands of indigenous women mobilize to protest the policies of President Jair Bolsonaro. Photo: Hivos
In a great demonstration of feminine unity and strength as part of the indigenous movement across the Amazon, thousands of indigenous women have mobilized in Brazil’s capital city since yesterday as part of the country’s first Indigenous Women’s March. Carrying banners with the slogan “Territory: our body, our spirit,”, women have taken to the streets to make their voices heard and to denounce the policies of Brazil’s far-right president Bolsonaro, which have set the stage for escalating violations of indigenous rights, racism, violence and the most alarming Amazon deforestation rates in recent memory.
Marching side by side with women from over 110 ethnic groups in Brazil, indigenous women leaders from other regions of the Amazon have also joined in the mobilization to express their solidarity and to share their struggles in defence of their ancestral rainforest homelands, including Waorani leader Nemonte Nenquimo and Kofan leader Alexandra Narvaez from Ecuador. Both have led key victories against oil and mining interests in the Ecuadorian Amazon, setting historic precedents for indigenous rights and the rights of nature.
“Today, as women, we are on the frontlines – it is no longer only the men! We, women, are the ones who are taking on this fight for our territory because our territory is our life, it is our body. Joining the women here in Brazil is an incredible experience: we are standing together, we are no longer alone. As women, we are uniting to protect our territories from destruction and we are demanding that the governments respect our rights”, declared Kofan leader Alexandra Narvaez, whose community of Sinangoe won a historic victory against gold mining last year, protecting 79,000 acres of their ancestral rainforest territory at the headwaters of one of the Ecuadorian Amazon’s most important rivers.