Indigenous woman’s determination pushes legal mega-mining corporation out of her people’s territory – Alessandra Korap Munduruku won her campaign against Anglo American corporation!

“It [Anglo American] may be powerful to you, but to me, the powerful ones are the river, the strength of our territory and our people; the ant doing its work and the resistance of our people for more than 500 years in the fight for our land.” – Alessandra Korap Munduruku

What is Anglo American? In early 1973, Anglo American do Brasil (Ambras) opened its first office in Rio de Janeiro, focused on gold mining. The company’s Executive Committee in Johannesburg, South Africa, was convinced that investing in South America’s biggest country would be an excellent opportunity. 

At the end of the 20th century, Anglo American Corporation of South Africa was combined with its offshore arm Minorco and the new company, Anglo American plc, had its primary stock exchange listing and headquarters in London, UK. According to a Guardian article in 2012, « the twin power bases in Johannesburg and London pulled in opposite directions. The company carried its colonial baggage awkwardly and its safety record was appalling. »

Originally focused on gold mining, operations in Brazil now include iron ore, nickel, niobium and phosphates. Anglo American Corporation had been granted 27 research permits to mine inside Indigenous territories.

Legal mining site in Brazil = deforestation and water contamination

Who is Alessandra Korap Munduruku? Alessandra Korap Munduruku, along with other Munduruku women, organized demonstrations and presented evidence of environmental crimes to the Federal Attorney General and Federal Police to protect their Sawré Muybu territory on 400,000 acres of rainforest along the Tapajos River.

Information about her actions shared on social media helped increase the pressure on Anglo American.

Aided by the Association of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (APIB) and the NGO Amazon Watch, Alessandra drafted an open letter calling for Anglo American to withdraw the permits to conduct mining research inside Indigenous territories in the Brazilian Amazon, permits issued without the Indigenous communities’ informed consent which is required by Brazil’s constitution.

Following this media campaign led by Alessandra, Anglo American said that her objections persuaded it to formally withdraw the 27 research permits – permits that the company had originally denied having.

The company’s move represents a rare victory of an Indigenous community over one of the world’s largest mining companies.

Alessandra Korap Munduruku was awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize for this grassroots activism.

“Alessandra’s successful campaign represents a significant shift in private sector accountability around destructive mining in Brazil amid an intense government push for extraction in the Amazon,” the Goldman Foundation said.

Alessandra Korap Munduruku accepted the Goldman Award at the ceremony in San Francisco, “The prize recognizes our struggle and tells the world ‘We are here’. Multinational companies cannot come In without consulting Indigenous people!

Following Anglo American’s withdrawal, other major mining companies announced they were also dropping prospecting permits on Indigenous lands in Brazil, acknowledging that mining in Indigenous territories requires the informed consent of the communities.

Although international mining companies have stopped prospecting on Munduruku lands, Alessandra said that her people still face the threat of illegal gold miners.

Demarcation of the Sawre Muybu lands began in 2007 but was delayed during the Bolsonaro presidency which ended last January.

Alessandra states that, unfortunately, officially recognized land rights alone won’t protect Sawre Muybu land.

In the neighboring Munduruku Indigenous Territory, officially demarcated in 2004, illegal gold miners have destroyed forest and contaminated hundreds of miles of waterways with mercury, killing wildlife and degrading Indigenous lives.

Studies show that Indigenous-controlled forests are the best preserved the in Brazilian Amazon.

Anglo American: Out of Indigenous lands worldwide!

ALL GOLD MINING, legal and illegal, destroys forests and contaminates water,  wildlife and Indigenous communities!

You, too, can help keep multinational corporations and illegal criminal elements out of Indigenous territories globally by boycotting all products from deforestation; gold, palm oil, gemstones, exotic wood, soy, beef, etc.!

About Barbara Crane Navarro - Rainforest Art Project

I'm a French artist living near Paris. From 1968 to 1973 I studied at Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, Rhode Island, then at the San Francisco Art Institute in San Francisco, California, for my BFA. My work for many decades has been informed and inspired by time spent with indigenous communities. Various study trips devoted to the exploration of techniques and natural pigments took me originally to the Dogon of Mali, West Africa, and subsequently to Yanomami communities in Venezuela and Brazil. Over many years, during the winters, I studied the techniques of traditional Bogolan painting. Hand woven fabric is dyed with boiled bark from the Wolo tree or crushed leaves from other trees, then painted with mud from the Niger river which oxidizes in contact with the dye. Through the Dogon and the Yanomami, my interest in the multiplicity of techniques and supports for aesthetic expression influenced my artistic practice. The voyages to the Amazon Rainforest have informed several series of paintings created while living among the Yanomami. The support used is roughly woven canvas prepared with acrylic medium then textured with a mixture of sand from the river bank and lava. This supple canvas is then rolled and transported on expeditions into the forest. They are then painted using a mixture of acrylic colors and Achiote and Genipap, the vegetal pigments used by the Yanomami for their ritual body paintings and on practical and shamanic implements. My concern for the ongoing devastation of the Amazon Rainforest has inspired my films and installation projects. Since 2005, I've created a perfomance and film project - Fire Sculpture - to bring urgent attention to Rainforest issues. To protest against the continuing destruction, I've publicly set fire to my totemic sculptures. These burning sculptures symbolize the degradation of nature and the annihilation of indigenous cultures that depend on the forest for their survival.
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4 Responses to Indigenous woman’s determination pushes legal mega-mining corporation out of her people’s territory – Alessandra Korap Munduruku won her campaign against Anglo American corporation!

  1. Pingback: Indigenous woman’s determination pushes legal mega-mining corporation out of her people’s territory – Alessandra Korap Munduruku won her campaign against Anglo American corporation! — Barbara Crane Navarro – Tiny Life

  2. Pingback: Indigenous woman’s determination pushes legal mega-mining corporation out of her people’s territory – Alessandra Korap Munduruku won her campaign … | Ned Hamson's Second Line View of the News

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