From Indigenous Peoples in Brazil
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Organizations in Amazonia

In the Amazonian context, indigenous associations have become central actors in the sustainable development of the region. Anthropologist Bruce Albert, researcher working under the ISA-CNPq-IRD Agreement, discusses the topic.

Between the new Constitution and the ‘projects market’

Since the end of the 1980s, Amazonia has witnessed an extremely dynamic process of creating and registering indigenous associations in the CSO form (‘civil society organization’). To obtain an idea of the scale of the phenomenon, it suffices to note that prior to 1988 there were just ten such associations (Upper and Middle Solimões, Manaus, Upper Rio Negro, Roraima) and that by the end of 2000 there were more than 180 associations in the six states of the North Region: Amazonas, Rondônia, Roraima, Acre, Pará, Amapá (with probably over 300 in Legal Amazonia). In other words, the number increased almost twenty-fold in little more than a decade (see Table of organizations).1

These associations have diverse characteristics. The majority are local (community groups, river basins), representing one people or a region. A number are based around professional or economic activities (teachers, healthcare agents, producers, cooperatives). There is also an important network of women’s associations, as well as various associations of indigenous students. Although few have their own infrastructure as yet, the vast majority are officially registered or in the process of being legalized, regularly fulfilling the double political roles of internal coordination and interethnic representation.

Today a considerable and growing number of these indigenous organizations have access to external funding sources in the form of local development ‘projects’ with a broad range of aims: territorial management, institutional upkeep, organization of assemblies and meetings, healthcare and education programs, initiatives relating to economic self-sufficiency and commercialization, cultural divulgation and reaffirmation, and so on. As a result it is now increasingly difficult to distinguish between associations ‘with’ or ‘without’ projects: the difference is more between those associations with access to a range of regular and ample funding sources (regional associations, generally urban) and those that have access to just a few small and sporadic sources of funding (local, rural associations).

The multiplication of indigenous associations in Amazonia originates from the intersection of various macro sociopolitical processes interacting at national and international level. Within Brazil we can firstly identify the promulgation of the 1988 Constitution, article 232 of which enabled these associations to become legal entities. The second important factor at national level was the State’s withdrawal from direct management of the ‘indigenous issue’ in the country (basically confining itself to territorial questions) 2 and the political and budgetary depletion of the state’s indigenist agency, created in 1967 by the military regime, within the wider context of government development policies for Amazonia.

At international level, the first factor was certainly the globalization of issues relating to the environment and minority rights during the 1970s and 80s, as well as the growing collaboration between environmental and social NGOs in support of projects that integrate conservation objectives with a concern for community development – phenomena that were ritually consecrated at ECO 92 in Rio de Janeiro. A second decisive factor was the decentralization of international cooperation, which today includes sections of organized civil society in support of sustainable development and the implementation of local micro-projects.

The recent boom in indigenous associations is therefore simultaneously based on the progressive legal framework of the 1988 Constitution and on the ‘projects market’ opened up by bilateral and multilateral cooperation and by international NGOs, followed by the growing national public investments in the CSO sector (Ministries of the Environment, Health and Education).

From political ethnicity to the ethnicity of results?

The combination of trends and dynamics produced not only a rapid increase in the number of indigenous associations in Amazonia, but also a considerable qualitative mutation in the role of the ‘indigenous movement’ within the political debate/confrontation over the development model for the region.

In fact, the first few indigenous organizations created in the 1980s were informal, politically active associations with little institutional structure and essentially focused on demands for land and welfare assistance from a custodial State accused of failing to carry out its legal and social responsibilities.

From the 1990s onwards legalized associations began to appear in Amazonia with statutes, community management committees and bank accounts, increasingly assuming functions that the State had ceased to perform directly, redirecting most of the responsibility for execution or financing either to the local public of non-governmental sphere (municipalities, states) – in the area of education or healthcare, for example 3 – or to the globalized network of bilateral and multilateral cooperation agencies and international NGOs in the area of territorial demarcation projects, economic self-sufficiency or environmental protection.4 This represents, then, the shift from a conflict-ridden movement of informal ethnopolitical organizations and mobilizations (1970s and 80s) that dialogued with the State to the institutionalization of a constellation of organizations where the economic and social service functions become increasingly important and the dialogue is mainly with national and international funding agencies, whether governmental or non-governmental (1990s-2000s).

In parallel the political configuration shifts from a dynamic of identity construction sustained by a set of charismatic indigenous leaders (whose neo-traditional political-symbolic discourses had considerable impact in the media) to a phase involving a certain routinization of ethnic discourse (following the moulds of the international rhetoric on ‘ethno-sustainable’ development produced by funding agencies), supported by a new set of young leaders of indigenous organizations, increasingly trained in the management of associations and projects.

There is a gradual shift, therefore, beginning at the turn of the 1990s, from a strictly political form of ethnicity, rooted in territorial and legal demands (application of the Indian Statute) to what could be called an ethnicity of results in which affirming identities became the background for the search for access to markets, above all the national and international ‘projects market’ opened up by the new decentralized (local/sustainable) development policies.

Hence the vacuum left by the gradual withdrawal of the State from the indigenist scene has meant that today these organizations, as well as executing their traditional functions of political coordination and representation (whose intensity tends to diminish with the resolution of territorial claims), also increasingly perform service functions, managing land demarcation and surveillance projects, a range of health, educational, cultural and social projects (such as management of indigenous pensions for APITU in Amapá), and various types of economic and commercial projects (agroforestry and farming projects, fish farming projects, craftwork and forest produce projects, and so on).

Pursuing a subtle dialectic of protest action (in the generic or specific defence of indigenous rights) and the search for participation, these associations are today increasingly recognized as actors in regional socioenvironmental development in the official forums where they negotiate directly according to their own strategies, both with public administrations and with cooperation agencies, NGOs or companies (negotiators of ‘green’ products or providers of compensation payments).

As a result of this growing legitimization, indigenous associations develop their projects with financial backing from a wide variety of national and international funds. On the international funding side, there are multilateral cooperation funds (World Bank, European Community)5 and bilateral cooperation funds (dominated by northern European countries), and the funds of various secular NGOs or those linked to religious funding networks (NGOs that frequently also acts as intermediaries for cooperation financing). In certain cases the funds may also come from projects supported by ‘traditional’ companies interested in products with a high added ethno-ecological value – such as the BodyShop (UK), Aveda (United States) or Hermès (France) – or even be replaced by key trading partnerships with ‘militant’ companies from the ‘fair trade’ sector – such as the companies importing the guaraná produced by the Satéré-Mawé into Europe: Guayapi Tropical in France and Cooperativa Terzo Mondo in Italy.

On the national side, there are funds based on agreements signed with various municipal, state and federal administrations in the areas of education, healthcare and the environment, or sometimes the compensation payments from large state or former state companies, like Vale do Rio Doce or Eletronorte. Finally there are a number of funds made available by national NGOs, though very often these derive from international NGOs and cooperation agencies and simply passed on to indigenous organizations.

Land demarcation and management of natural resources

The evolution of the process of territorialization of indigenous groups, begun in the context of large public development projects for Amazonia launched by Brazil’s military governments (based on the legal-administrative framework of the 1973 Indian Statute), can also be considered a determining factor in the recent change in the parameters of the indigenous question in the region.

The indigenous movement’s most intense phase of identity affirmation and ethnopolitical mobilization – its ‘social movement’ phase properly speaking – occurred during the intense and painful process of ‘confrontational dialogue’ with the State over the demarcation of indigenous lands in the 1970s and 80s.

After almost three decades, this dynamic – still to be completed – has at least for the first time the chance of conclusion on the horizon. The 160 indigenous peoples of Amazonia today have a combined total of 377 reserved lands, 76% of which are legally recognized to various degrees (delimited, homologated or registered lands). Legal recognition of the region’s last indigenous territories is advancing rapidly, although important cases remain to be resolved (including the Raposa Serra do Sol in Roraima) and the majority of indigenous lands still experience some form of invasion. However, to give an idea of the pace of this indigenous territorialization, we can note that 268 indigenous lands were homologated in Brazil from January 1990 to June 2000, covering an area of 728,026.56 km² (see current data).

In this final phase of the territorialization process, begun in the 1970s, the indigenous movement is entering a phase in which their main point of confrontation with the State, around which the movement was politically constructed, is gradually diminishing. But while this founding confrontation with the State on the land issue is tending to fade as the number of areas under litigation diminishes, it is also shrinking in importance due to the detachment of the State itself in relation to indigenous affairs, which today seem to be limited to an indecisive or opportunist role of arbitration between non-governmental mobilizations and local politico-economic interests.

Indeed as a result of political disinterest (macro-economic priorities) and a conceptual vacuum (absence of any reform of an obsolete indigenist administration),6 the State seems to have given up on planning an indigenist policy of direct intervention. Its actions are largely confined to the processes of legalizing and removing intruders from federal lands considered to be for the exclusive use of indigenous populations.7 On the other hand, it has transferred most of the public services targeted at indigenous populations either to the local sphere via decentralization (indigenous education and healthcare at state and municipal level) or to the global sphere through outsourcing (responsibility for economic support to indigenous communities largely transferred to international cooperation).

In this context of ‘post-territoriality’ and the retraction of the State, indigenous societies are today exposed to new challenges over and above the traditional problem of territorial protection and gaining citizenship: these include maintaining the complex external sociopolitical networks in order to guarantee access to sources of funding for social, healthcare and education programs adapted to their cultural reality and, above all, ensuring the viability, with support from the same channels, of a model of economic-environmental management of the natural resources of their lands.

In responding to these new challenges, the main partners of these organizations are today no longer the omnipotent tutelar and clientalist State, but a diverse network of public administrations and funding agencies with which they must negotiate a wide range of multi-partnerships as a way of ensuring their continued social and cultural reproduction in a new context of permanent interconnection between regional, national and international levels.

Indigenous territories and sustainable development

Concrete studies have already demonstrated the importance of indigenous areas for preserving the Amazonian forest cover. Satellite photos from INPE (Institute of Space Research) reveal the Xingu Park (Mato Grosso) to be an island of forest surrounded by intensive deforestation.8 However a certain resistance persists among official or non-governmental environmentalists committed to ‘full preservation’ to the view of indigenous territories of Amazonia as areas of environmental preservation and sustainable forest use. Three counter-arguments are generally made against the latter idea, based, probably, on a degree of unfamiliarity with the social and environmental reality of indigenous territories.

The first counter-argument observes that most indigenous territories have already suffered some form of invasion – by miners, loggers, farmers, settlers, etc. – and that these invasions will inevitably intensify with the development of economic activities and the flow of migrants into regions where the largest areas of mostly undisturbed forest are located. This pressure on indigenous lands and its predicted accentuation is therefore held to disqualify them from performing the role of environmental protection areas.

However this ecological threat is not in any sense particular to indigenous territories. Few conservation units in Amazonia are effectively implanted and monitored (there is just one IBAMA employee for every 2,000 km² of protected area in the region).9 Many units are invaded and their natural resources exploited indiscriminately. Moreover, estimates suggest that approximately 50% of the indirect use units have resident populations (as in the case of the Pico da Neblina Park, occupied by the Yanomami people, the Jaú Park with riverine populations and the Serra do Divisor Park with rubber tappers).

However the only solution for the presence of ‘traditional populations’ in these ‘Full Protection Units’ permitted by the National Conservation Units System (Law no. 2.892, Article 42) is their removal and resettlement (except in the case of overlaps with indigenous areas – Article 57). This somewhat drastic ‘solution’ of clearing indirect use units of their traditional populations in detriment to more programmatic solutions (use contracts, reclassification) seems, contrary to its objectives, to weaken any real possibilities for preserving the areas in question, while the experiences over the last decade or so in Amazonia tend to demonstrate that a realistic conservation policy depends on the sociopolitical and economic involvement of local organized populations.10

Consequently, it can be argued that Amazonia’s indirect use conservation units not only suffer the same threats as indigenous territories, they also have the aggravating factor of barring the presence of populations whose survival depends on the area’s sustainable use and who are therefore capable of social mobilization to defend their borders and their environmental integrity. Here the intransigent ideology of full preservation tends to reinforce the vulnerability of these areas in the name of a doubly utopian goal of maintaining ‘human-free’ islands in Amazonia – utopian given both the region’s geographic-social realities and the lack of resources for the agency responsible for monitoring the protected areas.

The second counter-argument – more commonly heard – is that indigenous peoples, due to their new social and economic aspirations in a context of increasing contact, may develop – and in some cases are already developing – economic activities that are destructive for the environment. This can be answered with a number of objections.

Firstly while virtually all indigenous peoples maintain some kind of economic relationship with the market, in the vast majority of cases these relations remain within a spectrum of low environmental impact in the form of sporadic trading/work, the traditional wage-debt system, or community projects mediated by support institutions (FUNAI, missions, NGOs). 11 Situations in which indigenous communities depend almost entirely on the market for their consumption and basic survival are very rare in Amazonia, applying, for example, to a some Tikuna villages confined in small, densely populated indigenous areas with few natural resources (also subject to predatory invaders) and located on the outskirts of urban centres on the upper Solimões (the case too of the Munduruku of the Praia do Mangue and Praia do Índio areas on the outskirts of Itaituba in Pará state).

Cases of groups associated with predatory activities developed on their lands by agents from the regional economic frontier, such as miners and loggers, are also a small minority among the 160 indigenous peoples of Amazonia.12 Furthermore, these situations, far from implying collective economic systems, generally involve just some individuals (leaders and their families), as in the case of the sale of timber among the Cinta Larga (Rondônia and Mato Grosso) or among the Kayapó (Pará) – a selective sale of timber, in fact, that does not involve large-scale exploration or much less systematic deforestation.

Hence the local scale of these activities is completely incomparable with the magnitude of the non-indigenous economic enterprises in Amazonia and their environmental impact remains relatively slight due to the population density of the indigenous territories in question, generally extremely low (0.02 inhabitants/km² for the Cinta Larga of Aripuanã, 0.09 inhabitants/km² for the Kayapó Indigenous Territory). Moreover, these predatory activities by segments of some indigenous societies can usually be reversed when alternatives to the economic models adapted from the regional frontier are offered and supported. A number of examples can be given here, such as the timber sustainable management project developed by ISA with the Kayapó-Xikrin (Pará), the low environmental impact mining project run by CTI with the Waiãpi (Amapá), or the projects for breeding dairy cattle developed by the Italian NGO MANITESE with the Tembé and Assurini (Pará).

The third counter-argument opposing a view of Amazonia’s indigenous territories as environmental preservation areas sustains that the intensification of contact over the long-term will imply a migration of indigenous peoples (or a substantial portion of them) to Amazonia’s cities or regional capitals, leading to the gradual abandonment of indigenous areas and an increase in non-indigenous forms of exploration. Here indigenous peoples are said to follow a general trend in the Amazonian region where the level of urbanization rose from 45% in 1980 to 61% in 1996.13

The indigenous presence in the urban spaces of Amazonia is undeniable and relatively important. Although its fluctuation makes any census somewhat imprecise, this presence was estimated at 20,075 people in the six states of Northern Amazonia 14 in the IBGE census of 1991 – that is, 10.8% of the region’s overall indigenous population. This phenomenon of migrating to urban centres is driven by a number of factors, including conflicts and traditional patterns of mobility, not just the spontaneous search for social mobility (employment, education) and/or the influence of contact agents (missionaries, indigenists, members of the regional economy). 15

However the argument that indigenous territories will be abandoned in the future due to emigration is founded on a sociologically model as inadequate as it is obsolete. Based on a stereotyped opposition between ‘village’ and ‘village-less’ indigenous peoples and the reductive idea of the one-way shift from one social state (rural/traditional) to another (city-based/acculturated), this model merely inverts the traditional colonial-evolutionist view in which moving from the forest to the city meant travelling the path from primitive to civilized.

The contemporary sociological and cultural reality of indigenous peoples has obviously little in common with this ‘retro-evolutionist’ ideology and its rural/urban dualism. In fact, far from this scenario, in various regions today we can note a certain reorganization of indigenous collectives in the form of transversal social spaces – real ‘multilocal communities’16 at a regional scale – which interconnect kinship networks and the flows of goods and people between various poles situated in the forest and the towns and cities. Thus translocal expansion of indigenous social fields and their dynamics of internal mobility between villages and urban areas cannot be confused with a process of migration from villages to cities without committing a serious conceptual blunder.

Indigenous associations and sustainable development

In the debate on the possibilities of indigenous territories as environmental preservation and sustainable development areas we should therefore try to avoid the stereotypes of ecologist (‘authentic’) Indians and the inverse predatory (‘acculturated’) Indians, based on the reductive idea that the mere access of indigenous societies to the market fatally transforms their members into agents of environmental destruction.

Changes in the forms in which natural resources are used by indigenous societies depend, in reality, on the range of socioeconomic and political alternatives offered for their connections with the so-called ‘surrounding society’ (in its regional, national and international dimensions). Hence the ‘surrounding society’ is no longer limited, for the Indians, to the local dimension of interaction with the traditional agents involved in expansion of the regional economic frontiers (miners, settlers, loggers, farmers, etc.). The universe of interconnections between indigenous societies and the ‘white world’ has become considerably more complex over the last three decades.

During the 1970s and 80s, indigenous societies began to achieve a space on the national political scene. In the 1990s they saw this space expand on a global scale and develop into a wide array of new socioeconomic possibilities. The indigenous peoples of Amazonia no longer have as a single post-contact economic reference point the predatory model of the local frontier or the neo-colonial agricultural model of state indigenism (FUNAI’s ‘Community Development Projects’).17 Today the process of decentralization and growing interconnection of the local and the global beyond the mediation of the State put them in touch with a complex universe of funding sources, technical resources and decision-making channels spanning from the municipality to the World Bank.

This potential set of partners forms the sociopolitical framework in which the more than 240 indigenous associations from Amazonia have developed and run their social and economic development projects. Hence intermediation has allowed these associations to guarantee the social and political conditions among their reference populations and the universe of available partners for the environmental preservation and sustainable development of Amazonia’s indigenous territories. Four fundamental political and social parameters, external and internal, will more than likely determine the success of this dynamic.

The first of these parameters will be the potential capacity of these organizations to continue to mobilize the support networks, the national media and above all the international media on ethno-environmental issues and thereby achieve a sufficient level of pressure to force the federal government to maintain the territorial gains made by the indigenous movement over the last 25 years against local economic interests and the ever larger flows of migrants between regions.

The second parameter, associated with the first, will reside in the political effectiveness of the associations in promoting the development of public and non-governmental policies at the appropriate scale designed to invest in knowledge of biodiversity and the sustainable economic management of their lands, involving their inhabitants closely and taking into account their specific social projects.

The third parameter, this time internal, will be the possibility for the indigenous associations to translate this political-institutional expressivity into economic autonomy for the populations they represent. The challenge lies in meeting the new material and social expectations of the associated communities, involving their members in local projects for exploring natural resources that are simultaneously non-predatory and capable of promoting a degree of economic self-sufficiency for the indigenous areas. In this context emphasis should also be given to the complementary diversification of activities and extra-local economic resources (see the observation above concerning the new translocal space occupied by indigenous communities), and the importance of natural forest resources in the formation of community income and, therefore, of contributing to the environmental preservation of their areas.18

The final parameter, no less important than the preceding three, concerns the political determination and clear thinking needed from the leaders of indigenous associations to circumvent the new forms of subordination and clientalism in the management of the new socioenvironmental projects, not only in the context of the relations that will be imposed on them by the funding (or marketing) agencies, but also in terms of the relations they themselves construct with the other members of their societies. Added to this challenge is the complex task of administering the forms of social and cultural differentiation emerging in the process of socioeconomic transformation induced by these new ethnodevelopment projects.


(1) Sobre a trajetória deste movimento desde o fim dos anos 1980, ver C. A. Ricardo, 1991: “Quem fala em nome dos Índios ?” in: Povos Indígenas no Brasil 1987/90. São Paulo: ISA. pp. 69-72 e 1996: “Quem fala em nome dos Índios (II) ?” in: Povos Indígenas no Brasil 1991/1995. São Paulo: ISA. pp. 90-94.

(2) Mesmo assim, em 2000, só 2% do orçamento federal para ações indigenistas foram alocados à fiscalização das terras indígenas (Funai) e menos de 1% a iniciativas de gerenciamento e recuperação ambiental (via MMA e Funai). Ver Hélcio Marcelo de Souza, 2000: "Políticas Públicas para povos indígenas: uma análise a partir do orçamento", Nota Técnica INESC n°38 (9/10/2000).

(3) Cerca de 32% do orçamento indigenista federal (via FUNASA-MS) foram alocados em 2000 a 34 Distritos Sanitários Especiais Indígenas (DSEI) articulados ao Sistema Único de Saúde e gerenciados em parceria com organizações indígenas, organizações não-governamentais e, sobretudo, prefeituras municipais. Só 1,4% foram especificamente destinados a educação indígena via Funai e MEC (em parceria com ONGs e Secretarias de educação). (Fonte: Nota Técnica INESC n°38 de 9/10/2000).

(4) As ações públicas em apoio a alternativas econômicas indígenas (via Funai) representam apenas 3,7% do orçamento indigenista federal. (Fonte: idem).

(5) Programas de apoio a iniciativas comunitárias de desenvolvimento local/sustentável com acesso aberto a organizações indígenas como o PAIC (Rondônia) e PADIC (Mato Grosso) do Banco Mundial, e os Projetos Demonstrativos/Tipo A (PD/A), componentes do PPG7 (Programa Piloto para a Proteção das Florestas Tropicais do Brasil) financiado principalmente por países da União Européia. No âmbito dos PD/A está atualmente em gestação um programa especializado para comunidades e associações indígenas, o PDPI, Projetos Demonstrativos dos Povos Indígenas.

(6) 43% do orçamento federal para ações públicas foi alocado em 2000 só para gastos com pessoal e manutenção da Funai (Fonte: INESC Nota técnica n. 38, 9/10/2000).

(7) A continuidade da demarcação das terras indígenas vem sendo financiada com expressivo apoio da cooperação internacional através do Projeto de Proteção às Populações e Terras Indígenas na Amazônia Legal (PPTAL).

(8) Ver o artigo de A. Villas-Bôas e M. Campanili, 1999: "Terras indígenas protegem floresta Amazônica", Parabólicas 49.

(9) Ver G. Sales, 1996 : "O sistema nacional de unidades de conservação: o estado atual"no documento “Presença humana em unidades de conservação”. Brasília: IPAM-ISA-PPG7-WWF-CDCMAM/CD.

(10) Ver o exemplo da Reserva de desenvolvimento sustentável de Mamirauá (D. Lima 1997: “Equidade, desenvolvimento sustentável, e preservação da biodiversidade: algumas questões sobre a parceria ecológica na Amazônia”. In: Faces do Trópico Úmido – Conceitos e questões sobre desenvolvimento e meio ambiente. E. Castro e F. Pinton (orgs.). Belém: CEJUP) ou da Reserva Extractivista do Juruá (M. Almeida, 1996: “The management of conservation areas by traditional populations: the case of the upper Juruá extractive reserve”. In: K.H. Redford et al. (orgs), Traditional peoples and biodiversity conservation in large tropical landscapes. América Verde – The Nature Conservacy).

(11) Retomamos aqui a classificação e a discussão de D. Lima e J. Pozzobon, 1999: “Amazônia socioambiental (sustentabilidade ecológica e diversidade social)”, MS.

(12)Estes casos se desenvolveram geralmente a partir de situações de invasão maciça de terras indígenas produzidas por falhas ou cumplicidade do órgão indigenista oficial as quais lideranças indígenas, por falta de alternativa, se adaptaram com uma certa realpolitik econômica.

(13) Dados IBGE.

(14) Dado calculado a partir do trabalho de M. Azevedo, 1997: "Fontes de dados sobre as populações indígenas brasileiras da Amazônia", Cadernos de Estudos Sociais 13 (1):163-178. Recife : Fundação Joaquim Nabuco.

(15) Ver, por exemplo, a pesquisa de G. Brandhuber, 1999: "Why Tukanoans migrates? Some remarks on conflict on the Upper Rio Negro (Brazil)”, Journal de la Société des Américanistes 85: 261-280, ou de P. Ferri, 1990: Achados ou perdidos? A imigração indígena em Boa Vista. Goiânia: MLAL.

(16) Sobre este conceito, ver M. Godelier, 1996: "Anthropologie sociale et histoire locale", Gradhiva 20 :83-94 e, sobretudo, M. Sahlins, 1997: "O ‘pessimismo sentimental’ e a experiência etnográfica: por que a cultura não é um ‘objeto’ em via de extinção (parte II)", Mana 3(2) :103-150.

(17) Ver, por exemplo, C. Junqueira, 1984: "Sociedade e cultura", Ciência e Cultura 36 (8), sobre um projeto proposto pela FUNAI aos Cinta Larga do Posto Serra Morena no início dos anos 1980.

(18) Nesse aspecto, não se tem, necessariamente, uma relação linear entre contato e degradação ambiental nas áreas indígenas (Ver R.Godoy, D. Wikie e J. Franks, 1997, "The effect of markets on neotropical deforestation: a comparative study of four Amerindian societies", Current Anthropology 38 (5): 875-878). Na sua redução da problemática da sustentabilidade ecológica à fixação local das populações indígenas, os projetos de desenvolvimento etno-ambientais tendem, geralmente, a ocultar a contribuição dos fenômenos de mobilidade sócio-espacial e de acesso a recursos monetários de origem extra-locais na renda indígena (aposentadorias rurais, salários retribuindo atividades locais ou não, bem como empreendimentos econômicos urbanos ou de intermediação entre aldeias e cidades). Ver sobre esta questão a contribuição de P. Léna (IRD) ao texto do projeto de pesquisa CNPq-IRD-UFRJ (LAGET): "Globalização, movimento associativo e desenvolvimento local sustentável na Amazônia", Rio de Janeiro, Maio de 2000.