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Check out the Amazon Basin's Danger Zones

Learn more about the Indigenous Peoples of the Amazon region:

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Land Rights in the Amazon River Basin

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Land Rights in the Amazon River Basin

Time and Place
The Amazon River Basin is a lush rainforest extending into nine Latin American countries. It holds countless natural resources and is home to over 300 Indigenous Peoples.

Many different groups have interests in the Amazon. The governments of Ecuador, Brazil and Peru use the land and resources to increase the income of their countries.

Transnational corporations interested in extracting raw materials such as gold, tin, iron, and oil are also claiming land in the region. Many of these claims conflict with the ancestral homelands of Indigenous Peoples. Meanwhile, new contracts bring more industry to the Amazon.


uaiwa ceremony
These boys are from the Shavante tribe in the Amazon Basin region. Their club fight is part of the "uaiwá ceremony, a passage from boyhood to manhood.
UN/DPI photo: Joseane Daher

In the Amazon today, groups like the Kayapo and Waiapi in Brazil, the Yanomami in Brazil and Venezuela, the Quichua and the Shuar in Equador, the Ashaninka in Peru, and the Aymara in Bolivia all face similar struggles in preserving their lands.

Decades of industrial development within the Amazon has had a devastating effect on these peoples and the rainforest. Millions of acres of forest have been cleared or destroyed. Some Indigenous Peoples, such as the Ashaninka, have been forced to work for plantation owners without pay.

Protective Measures
As a result of these common threats, Indigenous Peoples of the Amazon region formed the Coordinating Body for the Indigenous Peoples' Organizations of the Amazon Basin (COICA) in 1984. They are actively meeting and mobilizing to assert their rights to their ancestral lands and to assure their participation in the future development decisions that affect their lives.

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