For the first time in Brazil’s history, an indigenous woman was elected a member of the lower house. Joênia Wapichana, of the Sustainability Network party will be one of the eight federal deputies representing Roraima, a Brazilian state in the Amazon.
According to non-official figures, members of the Wapichana ethnic group total some 3.5 thousand, in north Brazil.
A 43-year-old lawyer, Joênia Wapichana is an advocate for indigenous causes, like land demarcation, the preservation of culture, and more health care and education for members of native Brazilian ethnic groups. In her campaign, she also underlined the need for strengthening of cultural centers for the indigenous.
With the slogan “Making History with Everyone to Improve the Lives of Indigenous Peoples,” the new lawmaker talked about the importance of protecting the collective rights of the indigenous population, sustainable development, and the fight against corruption.