Brazilian indigenous youth learn about their right to food


By Clarinha Glock

Indigenous communities in remote areas of Brazil have begun to recognise that they have the right to not be hungry, and are learning that food security means much more than simply having food on the table.

Rosiléia Cruz, 19, dreams of studying journalism. She chooses her words carefully during her interview with Tierramérica* by mobile phone from Tabatinga, in northwest Brazil, which can only be reached by plane or river travel.

Cruz is a member of the Ticuna indigenous ethnic group, one of the most numerous in the country. The Ticuna live in the Brazilian Amazon rainforest, in the Alto Solimões region around the river of the same name, near the borders of Peru and Colombia.

The lands of their ancestors were invaded for decades by “seringueiros” (rubber tappers), fishermen and loggers, who left poverty and destruction in their wake.

Up until three years ago, young people like Cruz had few prospects, and many sought relief in alcohol and even suicide.

But in January 2010, the Joint Programme on Food and Nutrition Security for Indigenous Women and Children opened a window of hope, with activities aimed at creating agricultural and other nutritional solutions, but with particular emphasis on training and awareness raising.


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