‘We Are Being Squeezed,’ says Prize-Winning Indigenous Activist
Alessandra Munduruku, a leader of Brazil’s Munduruku indigenous community, has seen her home broken into and been threatened over her work defending her people and their Amazon land from illegal miners and loggers, hydropower plants, and other threats.
On Thursday, the 36-year-old received the 2020 RFK Human Rights Award for “her work defending the culture, livelihoods, and rights of indigenous peoples in Brazil.”
Her indigenous community—like many in the Amazon—has long been under pressure from outsiders but the threat has surged as the government of right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro pushes for development of the region, she said.
“More and more, we are being squeezed, very strongly, like (by) a big snake that is trying to choke us,” she said.
She spoke with the Thomson Reuters Foundation on how her $30,000 prize, which she has donated to her indigenous community, might help create change—and what comes next.
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