Maial Kaiapó, indigenous leader and daughter of Paulinho Paiakan


In 2022, Maial ran to become the first federal representative of the Kaiapó people, but she lost the election. Still, she ‘turned on a light’ in other women.

Maial Kaiapó is one of the leaders of her people and also the daughter of Paulinho Paiakan, who died in 2020 due to Covid-19. He was one of the main leaders participating in the Constituent Assembly.

According to Maial, the rise to power of indigenous women like Sonia Guajajara and Joenia Wapichana is the result of the struggle of her father and all the indigenous peoples of Brazil.

What is happening today is a construction that comes from the 1988 Constitution, from indigenous leaders who are gone and from so many other leaders who are still present with us.

According to Maial, the indigenous ascent in politics could not have come in at a more opportune time.

The Kaiapó land is in the southern region of Pará, which is known as the arc of deforestation, where there are many conflicts, as well as violations of human, territorial and environmental rights

In 2022, she ran for federal representative, but lost the election. However, she says that her decision ‘turned on a light, awakening a desire among indigenous people to participate in the political process.

She continues to participate in the fight to this day, working as a legislative advisor in the House of Representatives. She previously worked directly with Joênia Wapichana, the first indigenous federal representative in Brazil and current president of FUNAI.

With these changes for 2023, I think we are experiencing a reconstruction. The whole scenario was destroyed when we got it and now we have to rebuild.

REPORTING Emily Costa WRITTEN AND EDITED BY: Carolina Dantas PHOTOS Mídia Ninja (retrato de Paulinho Paiakan) and Danila Bustamante (imagens da Maial Kaiapó) VISUAL IDENTITY Clara Borges ASSEMBLY Luiza Toledo