The pro-business anti-environment policies of Brazilian president Michel Temer have been endangering the country’s pristine lands since he came into office last year. But now it seems like they have actually cost lives.
Last week word got out that illegal gold prospectors in the Javari Valley had murdered between eight to 10 members of a previously uncontacted tribe. Brazil is home to hundreds of recently contacted and non-contacted indigenous groups that live far off the beaten path and who rely on the power of the government to protect them from the encroachment of miners and foresters who wish to exploit the land they have lived on for millenia.
The National Indian Foundation, better known as FUNAI is the principal governmental body charged with “preventing invasions of indigenous territories by outsiders.” But under the Temer administration they have faced severe budget cuts and were forced to close two bases in the region where the alleged massacre took place.
Instead of protecting the indigenous people - Brazil’s first residents - he wants to hand the keys to the Amazon to big business - bringing in millions of dollars for the wealthy. But this potential economic boom comes at a tragic cost and without the protections of FUNAI, slaughters like these will soon increase.
It is time Temer and his administration recognize the consequences of their terrible FUNAI budget cuts and start to take the protection of Brazil’s indigenous people seriously. Help stop future atrocities. Sign the petition and ask Temer to fully fund FUNAI.