Judge suspends Brazilian dam that would flood sacred waterfalls

3 April 2012

A federal judge has suspended the construction of a 1,820 megawatt dam on the Teles Pires River in the Amazon. The judge found that indigenous communities were not properly consulted about the dam, which would flood a sacred site, known as the Seven Waterfalls, as well as imperil the livelihoods of indigenous fishermen.

"The compensation [the government is] offering will never substitute places that are sacred to us, such as Sete Queda [Seven Waterfalls], that hold the cemeteries of our ancestors and that should be preserved. Sete Quedas is also the spawning grounds of fish that are an important source of food. They talk about fish ladders, but where have these ever worked?" Taravy Kayabi, a leader of the indigenous Kayabi people, said in a press release, adding that, "The government needs to look for alternative ways to generate energy that don't harm indigenous peoples and their territories."