Txai Suruí, Brazilian Indigenous leader, meets students from "Natives in Princeton"

Sunday, May 8, 2022

On Wednesday, May 4, 2022, the Brazil LAB and the High Meadows Environmental Institute hosted a meeting of Txai Suruí with Ella Weber ('25), Jessica Lambert ('22), Gustavo Blanco-Quiroga ('25), and Travis Chai Andrade ('24), Indigenous students from the "Natives in Princeton" student organization. Txai Suruí is an influential Indigenous youth leader and activist who gave the opening speech at COP-26 in Glasgow last year. At Princeton, she participated in the major conference "Amazonian Leapfrogging: Tackling the Climate Crisis and Social Inequality with Nature-Based Solutions," hosted by PIIRS's Brazil LAB, the High Meadows Environmental Institute, and the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs.

Txai Surui

Txai and the Indigenous students discussed the violation of Indigenous rights in their respective territories and the avenues for environmental justice in the Amazon and the United States. The meeting was critical both for Txai to learn about the reality of Indigenous youth in the US and for the Princeton students to hear about the struggles of Indigenous peoples in Brazil over the regularization of their territories and the maintenance of their rights.

During the meeting, mediated by Nathan Jessee and Arbel Griner, Txai offered as a gift Indigenous ornament and shared with the members of "Natives in Princeton" some background on the material culture and body paintings of the South Amerindian peoples. They also exchanged their experiences regarding university life in both contexts, as Txai is also a student at the Federal University of Rondônia in Brazil.