By Harald Eraker
"This is a big victory for us. In November last year Boa Vista finally received the proof of their rights as indigenous people: a certificate from the Brazilian authorities giving them the right to a 1,125 hectare area," says a happy Lucia Andrade of the organization Comissao Pro-Indio to NorWatch.
The Sao Paulo-based organization has for years supported the quilombos' struggle for land rights in Trombetas in the Amazonas jungle.
According to Andrade, Boa Vista has not claimed the original land, located within the MRN's license areas.
"The legally established area they have been given is smaller than those of other communities. The Quilombos' traditional areas are defined by where they hunt and fish, and especially where they gather Brazil nuts - their most important source of income," says Lucia Andrade.
Several of the Quilombo communities' lands thus are larger than 50,000 hectares.
"ARQMO, the Quilombos' organization in the area, demands that no new project be implemented by the MRN before land rights for all groups have been legally established," Lucia Andrade ends.
She appeals to The Future in Our Hands to put pressure on Hydro in this matter.
Boa Vista is one of 21 Quilombo communities with a total of 6,500 people who live in Trombetas in Amazonas. They are all descendants of African slaves who fled from plantations in eastern Brazil 200 years ago. They found their freedom by the Trombetas, one of the tributaries of the Amazon River. The Quilombos developed their own lifestyle in harmony with nature, and hunt, fish and gather Brazil nuts for a living. But in 1974 the mining company Mineracao Rio do Norte (MRN) started extraction of bauxite in the area. The MRN is owned by 5 companies, of which Norsk Hydro owns 5% of the stock.
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