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Brazil Appoints Sonia Guajajara as First Minister of Ministry of Indigenous People

Brazil’s President-elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva announced Sônia Guajajara as the first minister of the new Ministry of Indigenous People with a mandate to oversee policies ranging from land demarcation to health care. Sônia Guajajara is widely known as the leader of the main group of Brazil’s indigenous tribes and is a member of the Amazon Guajajara. She was also featured in Time Magazine’s annual list of the world’s 100 most influential people.

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Brazil Appoints Sonia Guajajara as First Minister of Ministry of Indigenous People- Key Points

  • Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva promised to create the Indigenous cabinet department during his presidential campaign.
  • On 1st January 2023, he returned to power and he also previously governed Brazil from 2003 to 2010.
  • The appointment of Sonia Guajajara as the first minister and the creation of the indigenous ministry is a complete turn taken by the government of Brazil.
  • The outgoing president Jair Bolsonaro, defeated in October is an opponent of Indigenous rights and has a record of racist statements.
  • In 1998, he spoke in Brazil’s congress praising the US Cavalry for having “Decimated its Indians” and expressed his regret that Brazil has not done the same.
  • Jair Bolsonaro promised to develop the Amazon and his defanging of environmental law enforcement led to a surge of illegal loggers, miners, and land robbers into Native territory in Brazil.
  • Sônia Guajajara has opposed the attempts to legalize these policies and that opposition was largely successful.
  • The land where Brazil’s Indigenous people live constitutes one of the world’s most important carbon sinks.

About Sônia Guajajara

Sônia Guajajara is a Brazilian indigenous activist, environmentalist, and politician. She is a member of the Socialism and Liberty Party (PSOL) and was initially a candidate for the President of Brazil in the 2018 Brazilian General Election. In 2022, she was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Times Magazine.

She is the leader of an organization that represents around 300 indigenous ethnic groups in Brazil. Sonia Guajajara is widely known as the leader of the main group of Brazil’s indigenous tribes and is a member of the Amazon Guajajara.

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