Home Institution

Denison University

Publication Date

Spring 2008

Program Name

Brazil: Amazon Resource Management and Human Ecology


This paper examines the visions of development of Alcoa, an American bauxite mining company, and the traditional ribeirinho communities in the area of Juruti Velho, Brazil. These two objectives are pursued in order to determine if Alcoa’s actions in the area constitute environmental injustice and colonialism. An explication of environmental injustice and colonialism is undertaken, and is followed later by a discussion of social invisibility and how circumstances are created that allow for the exploitation of traditional communities. The work and demands of ACORJUVE, a community association that is in opposition to Alcoa, are also discussed. A review of the interviews conducted with community members, as well as a summary of an interview conducted with an Alcoa representative in Juruti, is provided. Finally, a discussion of development ideologies, colonialism, and environmental injustice is undertaken to determine if Alcoa’s actions – based on these responses – are unwanted by the communities, and environmentally destructive and unjust. The author concludes that Alcoa’s presence in Juruti is forcing a capitalist mode of development on the native inhabitants of the area, and that their actions serve as a modern form of colonialism; additionally, the adverse environmental effects of the mining activities constitute an instance of environmental injustice.


Growth and Development | Latin American Studies | Natural Resources Management and Policy | Place and Environment


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