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11351 - Indigenous youth and legal traditions: stories from the Xingu River

The character of social sustainability of a development project lies not only in guaranteeing the material conditions for the reproduction of the lives of the affected population, but also in ensuring that their traditions are respected and kept alive. In that sense, legal traditions should be a part of that concern.

The proposed paper is based on the experience of field-work carried out by the researcher in the Brazilian Amazon. It describes the situation of the communities that live around the Xingu River – where the project of the hydro-power plant of Belo Monte is being implemented by the Program of Acceleration of Growth (PAC - Programa de Aceleração do Crescimento) of the Brazilian Government.

The paper focuses, specifically, on the lives and stories of resistance and cooptation among the peoples of the Xingu and the delicate balance between the will to ensure that the norms under which they organize themselves are respected and passed along to the new generations and the drive adapt.

But how are they coping with the changes brought about by the "march of progress"? What are the strategies being deployed to ensure the distinct and autonomous forms of regulation of the communities? And what are the roles and expectations of the indigenous youth towards the legal changes that come along with the new hydro-power plant, foreign workers, new economic relations, urban relations, etc? How do they envision themselves in the midst of these new relations? 

These are questions that will guide the paper into the answers that shall be provided by the indigenous youth itself.

Keywords: Brazilian Amazon, Indigenous youth, Legal Traditions, politics for the future

Author: Boanada Fuchs, Vanessa (Graduate Institute, Brazil)

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