Murder in the Amazon: Brazil’s natives under threat | Talk to Al Jazeera

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The Brazilian Amazon is home to nearly one million indigenous people, who have lived in and from the rainforest for thousands of years.

Many of them live in the Javari Valley Indigenous Reserve, which comprises eight million hectares – roughly the size of Austria.

Among them are the largest number of uncontacted tribes in the world, photographed only rarely from the air.

Last month, ten indigenous people were reportedly massacred here by illegal gold miners who roam these rivers, the second such incident in this reserve this year.

The reason is that the government body in charge of protecting the reserves, FUNAI, is barely functioning.

“With the deactivation of the [FUNAI] bases, it’s much more difficult to know what goes on and at the same time stop invaders from entering,” says Fernando Soave, Amazonia’s state prosecutor.

“They can be illegal hunters, miners, fishermen, loggers … Our rivers are like roads, because there aren’t roads in the Amazon. If you install a base at the entrance to a river, you can block illegal entries. If you don’t have these bases, it’s free passage.”

Manuel Chorimpa, of the Marubo tribe, explains that drug traffickers are now co-opting indigenous youth.

“We have evidence of young people who have been seduced for money. They carry drugs to other states. That creates serious problems for us, it’s one of the biggest threats we face,” Chorimpa tells Al Jazeera.

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