Minority Rights Group International (MRG) Deputy Director, Claire Thomas, writes this opinion piece for the Thomson Reuters News Foundation.+ LEARN MORE
There are around 46,000 Tikúna (also known as Tukuna and Magüta) in Brazil, according to the 2010 Census. Their language is known as Ticuna.
In 1988, 14 Tikúna living on the Solimões in western Amazonas were murdered at the Capacete Creek near São Leopoldo, while trying to defend their land. Six of the murdered Tikúna were children. The logger who ordered the killings was sentenced for genocide in 2001, along with 14 others involved. In 2004, however, the sentences were reduced for the man who ordered the Tikuna murders, along with the 14 others tried in absentia. The Tikuna remain threatened and are being persecuted in the region. There has been little information gathered or written on the culture and traditions of this community that faces annihilation.
In 1993, following decades of invasion and violence at the hands of rubber-tappers and loggers in the Solimões river area, the Tikúna people gained recognition for much of their land.
Today, Tikúna contend with high levels of unemployment and drug trafficking along the Solimões River, a development that is blamed for increasing numbers of suicides, addiction and social division, with many younger Tikúna losing their connections to the traditions of their community. Violence and criminality have become more prevalent as a result.
Minorities and indigenous peoples in