Zuker reports on Tanaru's Journey and the Importance of Cultural Forests in Amazonia

Written by
Fabio Zuker
Nov. 30, 2023

Brazil LAB's postdoctoral research associate Fábio Zuker has recently published a feature on the life of Tanaru at Mongabay, a U.S.-based conservation and environmental science news platform. Tanaru, also known as "The Man of the Hole," was an Indigenous person who survived several massacres that decimated his relatives in the state of Rondônia, in the Brazilian Amazon, during the 1980s and 1990s.

Tanaru's dramatic story was depicted in Corumbiara, a documentary by Anthropologist and Filmmaker Vincent Carelli. Carelli aimed to capture Tanaru's footage to persuade the Brazilian state to recognize the land as an Indigenous territory. Currently, Indigenous people and advocates are actively fighting for the Tanaru Indigenous land to remain as such, while ranchers are seeking to take possession of the plot to convert it into pastures and soy fields.

In an interview with Brazil LAB affiliate scholar Carolina Levis, the episode also reflects on how Indigenous groups have cultivated the biodiversity of the forest over thousands of years, a phenomenon she terms "cultural forests."

This piece is part of a year-long investigation conducted by Fábio Zuker as one of his activities at the Brazil LAB. The topic of Cultural Forests was also included in his ANT/ENV course on Indigenous Worldings across the Americas.