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Coordinating Body of Indigenous Organizations from the Brazilian Amazon

COIAB is one of the largest indigenous organizations in South America.  Founded at a meeting of indigenous leaders in April 1989, COIAB is now composed of 75 member organizations representing more than 400,000 people comprised of 160 different indigenous peoples from all 9 states on 272 million acres of the Brazilian Amazon.

Its mission is to promote  the social organization, cultural, economic and political integration of indigenous peoples and organizations of the Brazilian Amazon, contributing to their empowerment and autonomy.    They play a pivotal role leading the resistance of the immense threats from President Bolsonaro’s aggressive campaign to open the Amazon to exploitation, considering indigenous peoples a threat to the country’s economic development.

Francinara Soares Martins Bare, Federation Coordinator

In 2017, Francinara Soares Martins Baré (Nara Baré) of the Baré people of Brazil, took the lead of the Coordinating Body of Indigenous Organizations in the Brazilian Amazon (COIAB), one of the largest indigenous organizations in South America. She represents 75 organizations, 160 peoples, and more than 400,000 indigenous peoples in nine states. She leads at a critical point when indigenous peoples and the Amazon face immense threats, including the current government’s aggressive campaign to open the Amazon to exploitation.

Her work takes place in a dangerous environment, where indigenous peoples are menaced, persecuted, and killed. Nara ceaselessly advocates for the recognition and enforcement of the rights of indigenous peoples and highlighting the importance of indigenous peoples for the survival of the Amazon: “… if there are no more indigenous peoples in the Amazon, the Amazon will die with us.”

Nara Baré not only continues the challenging fight of indigenous peoples in problematic political times, but she is paving the way for indigenous women to meaningfully participate in this fight. By successfully leading an indigenous organization that is 80% male, Nara contributes to the rise and empowerment of indigenous women—not only in Brazil but in South America and beyond. She knows that indigenous women are vital to preserve the culture and traditional knowledge of their people and to educate future generations.