Tag Archives: zoesull@gmail.com

Reporting from the Amazon

Environmental activists, indigenous people, and traditional river communities gathered in Itaituba, Brazil for a 3-day workshop on threats to the Tapajós River and its people.
A march kicked off the long weekend of discussions, culminating with an opening ceremony on the banks of the river.

In 2016, I was fortunate to make contact with the environmental news site, Mongabay. The group supported my travel to the Tapajós region of the Brazilian Amazon where approximately 40 new hydropower dams are being planned. The region is facing other environmental threats as well, such as a shipping canal that would lead from the heart of Mato Grosso state to the Atlantic Ocean along the course of the Tapajós River. Thanks to a former AMARC employee, I made contact with Father Edilberto Sena in the city of Santarém. He founded the Amazon News Network, which I profiled for Mongabay. I also reported on the conflict and tensions between small-scale gold miners in the region and local indigenous populations. In the city of Altamira, the hub for the disastrous Belo Monte dam project, I interviewed traditional fisherfolk whose needs have been almost entirely overlooked by those planning mitigation measures for the dam.

This work would not have been possible without the support I received from a range of people, from the Movimento de Atingidos por Barragens (MAB), the environmental NGO Xingu Vivo, and the Federal Public Ministry, among others.

The Cacique Geral, or General Chief, of the Munduruku tribe wears traditional body paint and a head dress during a 3-day meeting in Itaituba. The meeting aimed to bring different regional groups together to develop strategies for facing threats to the area´s river and traditional livelihoods.


Afro-Brazilian Women Claim Power, and Show It Through Hair

In August, just before the Olympics, I had the pleasure to collaborate with Ana Terra Athayde on a story for the Guardian. The piece focused on the growing trend among Afro-Brazilian women to use natural hairstyles instead of straightening their hair. Whether in braids, afros, or dread locks, more women are embracing their natural beauty, and with it, their political and social power.

Raquel Martins is a community and university activist who has decided to embrace her natural curls.