Indigenous Rights in Brazil

Darlington, Shasta. “‘Uncontacted’ Amazon Tribe Members Reported Killed in Brazil.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 10 Sept. 2017,

Near the Colombian border, Brazilian gold miners allegedly killed 10 members of an uncontacted Amazonian tribe. The indigenous people were gathering eggs when they encountered some gold miners, who, after slaughtering the natives, bragged about the massacre at a bar. Funai, Brazil’s agency on indigenous affairs, contacted the prosecutor’s office in the state of Amazonas, and Pablo Luz de Beltrand is currently leading an investigation into the case.

The mass murder is a symptom of a much larger issue regarding the rights of indigenous peoples in Brazil. Brazilian President Temer, who is currently facing a massive corruption scandal, greatly reduced funding for Funai. As a result, Funai was forced to close five of its bases used to monitor and protect isolated tribes. Not only that, but according to Beltrand, this is the second case of this nature he is working on this year. 

Even now, in the 21st Century, the rights of indigenous peoples in Latin America are still being infringed, despite the best efforts of international organizations such as Survival International. It is incredibly important that the rights of these indigenous peoples are protected, for they are at risk of being wiped out entirely due to their small numbers. According to Survival International, “this latest episode could mean that a significant percentage of a remote ethnic group was wiped out.”

Due to the importance of “identity” in this class, I felt that this article was incredibly relevant, because the identity of indigenous ethnic groups cannot survive if their rights are not respected and protected. If Americans claim to care about human rights, we cannot ignore what is happening in Latin America. It is vital that we stand with the indigenous people of Latin America and the organizations dedicated to them.


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