This story excerpt was translated from Portuguese. To read the original story in full, visit Agência Pública. 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.
Harassment, intimidation, and threats: Funai employees who work in the Amazon and in Brasilia tell details of their daily lives under Bolsonaro
- “Internally, it works like this: everything the board doesn't like, it classifies as 'ideological'
- "My family has asked me several times to rethink, to get out of here, but the work can't stop"
- "Bruno's departure [from the CGRIIC leadership position] was hell for us"
It is no secret that the National Indian Foundation (Funai) has seemed to ignore its main mission - the protection of Indigenous peoples - during the government of Jair Bolsonaro (PL). Not surprisingly, after the murder of licensed indigenist Bruno Pereira and British journalist Dom Phillips, the employees of the organization rebelled against the current board: the group launched, together with the Institute of Socioeconomic Studies, a dossier of more than 200 pages, a kind of radiograph of the current dismantling of FUNAI, and started a national strike for the removal of Marcelo Xavier as president of the body.
The position has been held by the delegate of the Federal Police (PF) since July 2019. In this period, the government flooded Funai with security agents: to give an idea, according to the recently released dossier, more than half of the regional coordinators of the organ were under control of military and federal police officers until last May. Some of them have already spoken of "setting fire" to isolated peoples, committed physical aggression against Indigenous people, and got involved in agreements to lease reserves.
As a nonprofit journalism organization, we depend on your support to fund journalism covering underreported issues around the world. Donate any amount today to become a Pulitzer Center Champion and receive exclusive benefits!
In the end, the brutal crime that occurred in the Javari Valley (AM) caused some Indigenous people to break the gag. Most of those interviewed who are active in FUNAI reported in detail to Agência Pública part of the routine harassment, intimidation, and death threats they have suffered in the last four years.
Daniel Cangussu was the only Indigenous person of the group heard by Pública not to request anonymity, given his notorious dissatisfaction with the presidency of Marcelo Xavier. He has worked for more than ten years at the Madeira-Purus Ethno-Environmental Protection Front (FPE), one of the most threatened regions in the Amazon, where he has specialized in locating and contacting isolated peoples.