José Queirós Guajajara, indigenous leader, acted in the defence of the Guajajara territory against the illegal exploitation of wood in the Amazonian forest.
The land defender was 45 years old when he was found dead on September 23, 2016, in a dam near Aldeia Nova. José’s family believes that he died by electrocution and that his death was planned by a landowner, given that the dam, placed in indigenous disputed lands, was not supposed to have electric nets.
According to Cimi (‘Conselho Indigenista Missionário’), the defender was “fighting to defend the indigenous territory against illegal logging, and he made those who live off this activity angry”.
The Guajajara, also known as Tenetehara, are one of the most numerous indigenous peoples in Brasil and they inhabit eleven indigenous lands situated in the state of Maranhão. Linked to the defence of the right to land, various members of the tribe have received threats and been attacked by outsiders related, mostly, to logging. In 2016, in only 90 days, six Guajajara were killed, including José Queirós.
He was the first of the six and a sad lost to all.