Guard Posts Program
The guard post program supports organization and administration for the Kayapo to monitor and protect much of their 2,200 km (1,375 miles) of border demarcating their protected forested territory from frontier society.
Guard posts signal to outside frontier society that the Kayapo of an area are organized to defend their ratified land rights and would-be invaders do not attempt entry. Under the guard post program, inherent Kayapo drive to protect their territory, culture and livelihoods combines with equitably accessed income to produce a strong social antidote to the seduction and bribing of individuals by goldminers, loggers, and fishermen.
Fifteen guard posts are managed by three Kayapo NGOs : Associação Floresta Protegida, Instituto Kabu and Instituto Raoni.
Associação Floresta Protegida
AFP is a non-profit indigenous organization (NGO) that represents approximately 2,800 Kayapo living in 30 communities located in the northeast sector of Kayapo territory. The AFP Kayapo protect approximately 2.5 million hectares (6 million acres) of their territory in the northeast.
AFP is managing five guard posts in Ti Kayapo and Ti Menkragnoti.
The Xingu guard post draws workers from ten villages on the Xingu River with total population of ~ 800 people. With reasonably easy river access to the villages, indigenous guard rotation is weekly.
The Rio Vermelho post protects part of an eastern interior border that unofficially defines a line between Kayapo involved with illegal activity (logging, goldmining) and NGO-allied Kayapo
Supplying the Iriri guard post requires travel by truck over 300 km of dirt track (very bad road) from the nearest supply town of São Felix do Xingu followed by an eight hour boat trip upriver to the base which becomes a two day boat trip during the dry season of low water.
The Riozinho guard post controls northern access to Kayapo territory via the Riozinho river. The guard post relies on Kayapo guards from 10 villages with a total population of ~ 650 people.
The Linha Seca or “dry line” delineates approximately 100 km of northeastern border via a line on a map rather than a river. Until this year, the Linha Seca border was protected by sporadic Kayapo expeditions. Given increasing threat and four Kayapo communities in the area that were under-served by income generating programs, the Kayapo NGO of the northeast established the Linha Seca guard post to protect this long stretch of vulnerable border that is easily accessed by road.
Instituto Kabu is a non-profit indigenous organization (NGO) that represents approximately 1,800 Kayapo living in 15 communities in the northwestern sector of Kayapo territory. The IK Kayapo protect approximately 5 million hectares (12 million acres) of their territory in the north and mid-west.
IK is managing six guard posts in Ti Bau and Ti Menkragnoti.
The Pykatoti post controls the road that goes all the way to the large village of Kubenkokre in the interior of TI Mekragnoti.
The Pykatoti, Krimej, and Kawatum guard posts count on guards from eight villages and patrol about 80km of western border delimited by the Pitxaxa River (also known as the Curuaes River) that is under heavy pressure from loggers.
The Krimej guard post controls parts of the western border.
The Krijnhoken guard post defends TI Bau territory.
The new Pista Nova guard post was established by the northwestern Kayapo to occupy the interior of their Bau territory where for many years before the time of NGOs, small-scale goldmining had occurred. Goldmining here remained small in scale because goldminers were unable transport heavy machinery excavators across the large Curua river. Likely it was only a matter of time before the goldminers built a barge to take their heavy equipment across the Curua river. Therefore, the removal of goldminers from this area and subsequent occupation of this site by the Kayapo with a guard post is a major victory essential for securing the entire northeastern sector of Kayapo territory called Bau.
The Pista Nova guard post is located beside an illegal airstrip (“pista”) that had been used by goldminers
The Kenpoti post almost ties the Iriri guard post for being logistically challenging. Supplying the Kenpoti post begins in the town of Novo Progresso where the Instituo Kabu is located; then 150 km south on the BR 163 highway to the entry point of an unmaintained (very bad) dirt road through forest that provides access to several villages including to Kubenkokre which is located 230 km at the end of this track. To reach the Kenpoti post from Kubenkokre is one day’s travel upriver by boat with a portage across a rapids along the way.
The newly established Kenpoti guard post on the “Little Iriri” river in the interior of Mekragnoti territory
Instituto Raoni represents approximately 1,700 Kayapo living in 12 communities in the southwest sector of Kayapo territory. The IR Kayapo protect approximately 1 million hectares (2.5 million acres) of their territory in the southwest.
Instituto Raoni manages four guard posts in TI Menkragnoti and TI Capoto/Jarina.
The Kenmakati and Raoni guard posts on the Kayapo’s southern extension of the mighty Xingu river serve nine communities and protect against commercial fishermen and worse.
Before the Raoni and Kenmakati posts were established in 2020 and 2021, the southern Kayapo’s Xingu was over-run by commercial fishermen every year. Predatory fishing has been stopped by Kayapo patrols based at the two guard posts -and worse was to come had these posts not been present.
The Kakakuben guard post counts on guards from four villages and extends protection along the western border to the south of the IK guard posts. The main threat along this mid-western border is loggers invading from adjacent ranches.
The Kororoti guard post was established after the local Kayapo community revolted against a chief who succumbed to bribes and allowed loggers on IT. They qualified for participation in the guard post and conservation programs exemplifying the power of combining territorial protection activity, Kayapo culture and equitable income sharing.
Support the Guard Posts Program
Your donation will directly support the protection of Kayapo’s vast territory which extends over more than 9 million hectares (23 million acres). Territorial surveillance is the shield behind which other programs of conservation and development can grow.