URU-EU-WAU-WAU TERRITORY, Brazil (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – The old men want war, but the younger ones are holding them back. That generation divide was clear among the Uru-Eu-Wau-Wau tribe, who live deep in the Brazilian Amazon.
Endangered by land-grabbers and illegal loggers, the tribe called a meeting to discuss how to fight back and plan for the year ahead, Brazil’s second under Jair Bolsonaro’s presidency.
“You say we cannot kill, but the white man does not respect us,” said Uaka, one of the village elders, standing up to speak in broken Portuguese. “We do not steal their cattle to eat, so why do they steal our land for themselves? Our law works better than theirs,” said Purui, another older tribe member.
The Thomson Reuters Foundation got rare permission to attend the meeting, held at Aldeia Nova, one of the tribe’s nine villages in their 1.8 million-acre reservation in Rondonia state, as the indigenous group made plans for the future.
The state was among the hardest hit by last year’s Amazon fires, according to INPE, Brazil’s government agency tasked with monitoring deforestation in the region. Living in small isolated villages made up of wood and straw huts, the indigenous community of about 300 people is surrounded by farmland that used to be part of their reservation.