The prayer house: A fight for Indigenous rights in Brazil

Jaguapiru village, Dourados Indigenous Reserve, MS, Brazil — The cracks in the walls of Floriza de Souza Silva’s home ran deep the day the prayer house came down.

They spread like tree roots, splitting the clay-like mud held in place by bamboo framing as the ground shook from the explosion across the rust-dirt road. The three buildings where the matriarch lived with her husband, Jorge da Silva, and parts of her extended family stood firm, but the oca – where many Guarani-Kaiowá Indigenous people living in and around the Dourados Indigenous Reserve came to pray – began to buckle, its thatched roof cascading to the ground.

Read the rest of this story and see the interactive feature on Al Jazeera. Reporting funded by the IWMF‘s Reporting Grants for Women’s Stories.

By Jill Langlois

Photos by Flavio Forner for Al Jazeera

Originally published online on December 2, 2020.