Last March 9 night, the Brazilian documentarist, archaeologist and activist of the indigenous cause, Raoni Bernardo Maranhão Valle, was attacked on the porch of his house in Alter do Chão, Pará state.
Two men approached carrying 16-gauge shotgun rifles. Luckily for Raoni, they were half-hired hit men. The first shot went off, but the cartridge exploded inside the gun. Raoni got bogged down with the second who shot uncorrected. Their cries alerted residents and the pair fled.
Professor (with a PhD from the University of São Paulo) of UFOPA (Federal University of West Pará), Raoni Valle has made significant contributions to the advancement of archaeological knowledge of the Brazilian Amazon, notably in the field of cave paintings. He is responsible for documentaries on the Brazilian indigenous issue. Only one of them, Figueira do Inferno, raised more than a dozen awards for best documentary in 2004. In UFOPA, he develops, together with Munduruku students, the Kuyjeat Etaybinap Research and Extension Program –- Orality Archeology in the Munduruku Villages of the Middle Tapajós –- a proposal of “indigenous archeology”, with audiovisual documentation of the oral history of the ethnicity. In addition to intellectual partnerships with indigenous thinkers and researchers from the Upper Rio Negro, state of Amazonas, the researcher also develops the Pedra do Sol project –- Archaeological Contextualization and Indirect Dating of Ruins in the Brazilian Amazon (state of Roraima), dedicated to situating chrono-stratigraphic references for the Amazonian rupestrian prints.
On the very day of the attack, he packed his bags and set off for uncertain and ignored fate. He is convinced that what has happened is directly related to his defense of the Mundukuru Indians against the outrages of the infamous Belo Monte hydroelectric dam, and now he fears for his life and preservation of his university employment. In the meantime, the University has put him on leave.
Decrying similar cases has sometimes been able to prevent murders of indigenous, extractivist and other individuals who defend the forest peoples. It is for this reason that ISEE issues the present denunciation, considering that the violence against people working on issues we are involved in should be discussed and understood.