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Story Publication logo May 19, 2022

Tensions in the Maranhão Amazon Oppose Indigenous People and Quilombolas to the Advance of Predatory Progress (Portuguese)


Two people are paddling a canoe on the river.

This project proposes a visual investigation on the stress caused by the Amazon’s economic...

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This story excerpt was translated from Portuguese. To read the original story in full, visit Mongabay Brasil. 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.

Video by Mongabay Brazil. Brazil, 2022.

Aldeli de Jesus Ribeiro, or Pan Akroá Gamella, has scars all over her body, the result of gun wounds, stab wounds, sticks, and kicks suffered in the Gamella Massacre, a violent attack against the Indigenous people of Viana, a municipality in the Baixada Maranhense region 214 km from São Luís, which occurred on April 30, 2017.

Five years later, Aldeli finds strength to celebrate. "I lived again," he summarizes, remembering the day he was shot in the back, had his wrists and left leg severed, two deep cuts on his head — one of them generating a deep crack on his forehead — in addition to a laceration in his mouth, causing the loss of five teeth.

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On the shores of the lush Lake Aquiri, in the village of Centro dos Antero, in his beautiful wooden house painted in tropical tones, surrounded by ornamental plants and fruit trees, Aldeli celebrates his rebirth — noticeable in his Indigenous name, Pan, which means "seed" in the language of the Gamella.

Aldeli de Jesus Ribeiro (Pan Akroá Gamella). Image by Gui Christ. Brazil, 2022.

The shaman Maria de Fátima Pereira, known as Maria Roxa. Image by Gui Christ. Brazil, 2022.

Praw Akroá Gamella. In 2017, she saw a group of armed men invade her family's land to attack the community. Image by Gui Christ. Brazil, 2022.

Viana Lake, the largest lake in the Baixada Maranhense. In floods, its waters overflow and scatter fish in the surrounding fields, propitiating fishing. Image by Gui Christ. Brazil, 2022.

Preparation of manioc flour in Taquaritiua, Akroá Gamella village. Image by Gui Christ. Brazil, 2022.

Kum'Tum, member of the Leadership Council of the Akroá Gamella, and her mother, Maria do Carmo. Image by Gui Christ. Brazil, 2022.

Buffalo ranching in the municipality of Viana. Image by Gui Christ. Brazil, 2022.

Antonio Serejo Dias, fisherman and farmer in the village of Papagaio, municipality of Santa Rita. Image by Gui Christ. Brazil, 2022.

A transmission line crosses a farm in the municipality of Santa Rita. Image by Gui Christ. Brazil, 2022.

Rosa Maria Vera Dias, artisan fisherman in the Papagaio community, municipality of Santa Rita. Image by Gui Christ. Brazil, 2022.

Energy distribution line crosses the Akroá Gamella territory. Image by Gui Christ. Brazil, 2022.


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