Brazil: Munduruku chief clarifies REDD contract with celestial green ventures, calls it a ‘tale’
It created waves of headlines around the world when the Munduruku, an indigenous nation of approximately 13,000 living in the state of Para, Brazil, signed a carbon credit sales contract (REDD) with Celestial Green Ventures.
One of the chiefs, Osmarino Manhoari Munduruku, who lives in one of the 120 Munduruku villages, explained that it all began when the foreign cooperation Celestrial Green Ventures approached them with a REDD project and contract at a meeting held in Jacareacanga City Hall in August 2011.
Chief Osmarino stated that councilors of the municipality and representatives of the FUNAI (Brazil’s governmental bureau of Indigenous Affairs) were present. Most of the Munduruku were against the concept of the project, and therefore the Munduruku agreed not to sign the contract. Chief Osmarino recalls that the “Munduruku warriors almost beat the company’s representatives”.
Celestrial Green Ventures informed everyone present at the meeting, that two other indigenous nations had signed a similar contract with them. If this is true, I wasn’t able to find out which ones.
What happened next is the tragic reality of so many REDD contracts that have been signed by indigenous individuals who are not recognized leaders of the people they claim to represent. Chief Osmarino explained that after the REDD meeting, twelve individuals; Munduruku that were not chiefs nor in any other representational position, non-indigenous advisors, councilors of the municipality and representatives of the cooperation, continued a closed, secretly held meeting in a hotel, where the contract was signed.
“The chiefs were against the company’s carbon credit sales contract proposal, but some indigenous and others, such as councilors of the municipality, signed the contract” explained chief Osmarino. “We did not know it, we learned that the contract was signed through the internet” he added.
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