The case of the transposition of the São Francisco River, or the environmental practices and indigenist policy of leftist governments in Brazil


  • Loreley Gomes Garcia
  • Mayrinne Meira Wanderley



truká people, Sao Francisco river, transposition project, brazilian semiarid, ecological disaster, indigenous rights


This article presents the results of research whose objective was to evaluate the environmental and cultural impact of the work of the transposition of the São Francisco River, which began in 2007, on Indigenous peoples directly affected by the construction in their territories.We conducted dozens of interviews with the chiefs and leaders of the Truká people, in Cabrobó, state of Pernambuco, Brazil, where the waters of the river were removed for transposition. The discourses reveal that the impact of this work does not only affect the lands and way of life but confronts Truká’s cosmology and representations they have about nature and the supernatural world always being in close connection. From the official developmental perspective, we raise the alternatives presented by those who rejected the construction of this work: the NGOs, social movements, and the Indigenous peoples (riverside fishermen). We understand the construction of the transposition in the context of developmental works of great magnitude, within the framework of a political project that has been unfolding in Brazil over the last decade. Finally, we dismantle the official justifications about the need for the work and raise questions about the real motives that led to the proposal of this megaproject despite popular resistance and technical difficulties that have prevented its inauguration.


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How to Cite

Garcia, L. G., & Wanderley, M. M. (2023). The case of the transposition of the São Francisco River, or the environmental practices and indigenist policy of leftist governments in Brazil. South Florida Journal of Development, 4(4), 1758–1772.