Sonîa Guajajara, a Guajajara/Tentehar from the indigenous territory Araribóia in the Brazilian state of Maranhão is an activist and coordinator of APIB (the association of the indigenous peoples of Brazil) and an educator by conviction.
As a daughter of parents who couldn’t read or write, she remembers: “I always wanted to learn, because I was convinced that education could change the world, that revolution is made by education, and even if it seemed out of reach for myself, I proclaimed: every fight can be won, if it’s fought by education.” An education that was withheld from her and disputed: “Since I was a girl, I had the paternalism of the Indios in my ear. The prejudice that the Indio can’t think, that he is a violent animal, that he can’t work, except on the fields, that he should better stay in the jungle, and that so much land is destined for so few Indios, that a good Indio is a dead one.”
Sônia Guajajara stands, internationally, for indigenous rights, and stands against the exploitation and destruction of territories and resources by agro-industry and energy industry— for instance against the monstrous power plant Belo Monte. On the resistance of the indigenous Brazil she writes: “With a history of more than 400 years of “contact”, it remains that we are, in spite of exploitation, enslavement, European dominance, that wiped out our peoples, that attacked us, we are a people of resistance, we kept our traditions alive, and our courage to keep up the fight. If we survived till now, it’s because of the stories we still have to tell.”