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Story Publication logo September 26, 2022

Photo Essay: Life in the Depths of the Amazon, the Kapoto Village (Spanish)

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A person paddles a boat. In the foreground, there is a wooden shack on stilts.
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From Belo Monte, one of the world's biggest hydroelectric power dams that is strangling the Xingú...

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This story was translated from Spanish. To read the original story, visit El País. You may also view the original story on the Rainforest Journalism Fund website here. Our website is available in English, Spanish, bahasa Indonesia, French, and Portuguese.


Brazil is the world's largest exporter of soybeans. This and other crops, as well as pasture for cattle, surround Indigenous communities who are fighting for legal recognition of their ancestral lands, which they are determinedly defending from deforestation.


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Image by Pablo Albarenga/El País. Brazil, 2022.

1. In the state of Mato Grosso, soybeans occupy some 9.8 million planted hectares and corn takes up almost 5.1 million, an area equivalent to half the size of a country like Belgium, according to data from 2021. These plantations, together with pastures for cattle, surround this and many other Indigenous territories in the Brazilian Amazon, in a phenomenon known as the "expansion of the agricultural frontier." A huge Brazil nut tree stands solitary surrounded by fields soon to be planted in July 2022.



Image by Pablo Albarenga/El País. Brazil, 2022.

2. Kapot village consists of a perimeter of about 500 meters in diameter, with a community hut occupying the center, which is the meeting, council and decision making place of its inhabitants. The photograph shows the aerial view of the Kapoto village, in the Xingu Indigenous Land.



Image by Pablo Albarenga/El País. Brazil, 2022.

3. View of the entrance road to Kapot village, within the territory safeguarded by the Tapayun Indigenous people.



Image by Pablo Albarenga/El País. Brazil, 2022.

4. Remains of wood in the yard of a lumber mill near the Xingú Indigenous Territory.



Image by Pablo Albarenga/El País. Brazil, 2022.

5. Trees are continuously felled by ranchers, causing the deforestation of the Amazon. In the photograph, the remains of trees can be seen on one of the ranches closest to the border with the Kapot village.



Image by Pablo Albarenga/El País. Brazil, 2022.

6. Betikre Tapayuna Metuktire observes the remains of some logs near his territory.



Image by Pablo Albarenga/El País. Brazil, 2022.

7. Members of the Kapot community demonstrated, last July 7, against the "time frame" thesis, an interpretation of the Brazilian constitution that jeopardizes the demarcation of Indigenous lands.



Image by Pablo Albarenga/El País. Brazil, 2022.

8. Betikre Tapayuna Metuktire and Pãjro Txucarramãe, a young Indigenous communicator, take pictures of the demonstration of the members of the Kapot village against the "time frame" thesis last July.



Image by Pablo Albarenga/El País. Brazil, 2022.

9. Betikre Tapayuna Metuktire shows his family the visual record he made during the Free Land Camp, a settlement in front of the Brasilia congress where thousands of Brazil's Indigenous people are demonstrating. From left to right: Oket Metuktire, Betikre Tapayuna Metuktire, Bekwymrari Txucarramãe, Irepa-ê Tapayuna Metuktire with Bematgri Tapayuna Metuktire in her arms, and Patnhopi-o Metuktire.



Image by Pablo Albarenga/El País. Brazil, 2022.

10. Pãjro Txucarramãe manipulates the camera, next to Betikre Tapayuna Metuktire, during an interview with Kapoto village chief Patoit Metuktire last July.



Image by Pablo Albarenga/El País. Brazil, 2022.

11. "I will protect this place against the destruction of the white man who wants to exploit it. I have no enemies here; however, I am against any action that destroys our environment," said Patoit Metuktire, the leader of Kapot village, last July.



Image by Pablo Albarenga/El País. Brazil, 2022.

12. Patnhopi-o Metuktire, aunt of Betikre Tapayuna Metuktire, paints his face and body with jenipapo, a fruit belonging to the rubiaceae family (the same as coffee) used to paint skin, walls or ceramics.



Image by Pablo Albarenga/El País. Brazil, 2022.

13. Sunrise in Kapot village under a dense morning mist, prior to a storm.



Image by Pablo Albarenga/El País. Brazil, 2022.

14. Betikre Tapayuna Metuktire takes a sunset bath in the creek that runs near his home in Kapot village in July 2022.



Image by Pablo Albarenga/El País. Brazil, 2022.

15. View of the encounter between the jungle and the corn monocultures near the Xingu Indigenous Land.

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