Sônia Guajara

Sônia Guajajara’s biography illustrates the range of her social and political reach: Born among the Guajajara people in an Amazonian village in Indigenous territory in the state of Maranhão, she has degrees in linguistics, nursing, and special education and now serves as executive coordinator of the Articulação dos Povos Indígenas do Brasil (Articulation of the Indigenous Peoples of Brazil).

 

A tireless and effective activist, she has been instrumental in unifying more than 300 Indigenous ethnicities around a common agenda that asserts and defends their human rights and territorial claims. In 2018, she was the PSOL (Partido Socialismo e Liberdade) candidate for the vice-presidency of Brazil, as running mate with housing rights activist, Guilherme Boulos. As such, Guajajara was the first Indigenous woman to run for federal executive office in Brazil.

 

Since then, she has been a key figure mobilizing resistance against the dramatic uptick in deforestation in Brazil and intensified attacks on Indigenous peoples, organizing in 2019 the first March of Brazilian Indigenous Women in Brasília and also speaking before the United Nations Human Rights Council, the World Conference of Parties (COP) negotiating climate change agreements, and the European Commission of Human Rights. In 2015, she was awarded the Ordem do Mérito Cultural for her contributions to Brazilian culture and society.

Lewis Global Studies Center

Smith College

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