Alessandra Munduruku: activist by choice and history


The Munduruku leader has a teaching degree, but says she ‘couldn't just stay in the classroom’ and went to fight against gold mining in Tapajós

Alessandra Korap Munduruku, 38, was born in the village of Praia do Índio in the municipality of Itaituba (Pará), known as the “laundering” hub for the illegal gold that comes from the Amazon.

She has a degree in early childhood education, but after a while she said she “couldn't just stay in the classroom.”

I wanted so much more than that. I wanted to get the kids out of the classroom. I would ask myself, 'What kind of future do they want?’ And I understood that the children's future is more than this. It's for the territory. It's for the river.

So Alessandra started participating in meetings with other indigenous people in the fight against gold mining and, in 2018, she began to study law.

Then, during the Bolsonaro administration, she came to another crossroads due to the intensification of environmental crimes and, once again, prioritized the struggle: she gave up her classes to participate in mobilizations and denounce the ramifications of the government's acts in the indigenous territories.

The indigenous movement had to go on the offensive and I wanted to study, but couldn't. So I had to get out of the classroom a little, because it was like, ‘either I study law or I go to fight with my people.

Alessandra tells PlenaMata that, despite the threats, throughout her years as an activist, she has seen incredible things like the alliance between the Munduruku, Kaiapó and Yanomami.

Our concern was: We need to get this government out. We aren't going to take another four years and we won't put our heads down. And it wasn't just the Munduruku, Yanomami and Kaiapó. We saw the Pataxós, the Guajajaras.

Ultimately, Alessandra is an indigenous activist by history and by choice.

Wherever the gold mining goes there is no more fish, no hunting, people get sick from all sorts of diseases. Tuberculosis, malaria. They get too weak to hunt, to plant, to make flour.

REPORTING Emily Costa TEXT E EDITING Carolina Dantas PHOTOS Fotos: Anderson Coelho/InfoAmazonia;  Mentira tem Preço VISUAL IDENTITY Clara Borges ASSEMBLY  Luiza Toledo TRANSLATION Matthew Rinaldi