Paiter people

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Total population
1,172 (2010)[1]
Regions with significant populations
( Mato Grosso and  Rondônia)[1]
traditional tribal religion
Related ethnic groups
Cinta Larga and Gavião do Jiparaná[2]

The Paiter, also known as Suruí, Suruí do Jiparaná, and Suruí de Rondônia,[2] are an indigenous people of Brazil, who live in ten villages near the Mato Grosso-Rondônia border. They are farmers, who cultivate coffee.[2]


The Paiter speak the Suruí-Paíter language, which belongs to the Tupi-Guarani language family. Portions of the Bible were translated into Suruí-Paíter in 1991.[2]


First prolonged contact with the modern world came in 1969,[1] as a result of the 2,000-mile Trans-Amazon Highway being routed through Rondônia. The tribe was decimated by disease; nearly 90 percent died within a few years.[3]

Current events[edit]

The Surui have recently made headlines as one of the first indigenous people of South America to use high-tech tools (in particular Google Earth) to police their territory.[4] In cooperation with Google Earth Outreach, they can request more detailed satellite photos when they spot suspicious areas.[5] If loggers or miners are detected, they refer the case to the authorities who have them removed. Satellite pictures show that this is highly effective as the Suruí territory is the only intact remaining piece of rainforest in the area.[4]

The Surui have recently launched a forest carbon project as part of their 50-year tribal management plan.[6] Conceived in 2007, the project hoped to reforest and avoid degradation with Surui lands. A 2010 legal opinion by Baker & McKenzie determined that the Surui own the carbon rights to the territory, setting a precedent for future indigenous-led carbon projects in Brazil.[7]

Significant progress was next made in 2013. The project has now gained verification through the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) and Climate, Community and Biodiversity (CCB) Alliance as a REDD+ project. In September 2013, the Surui Forest Carbon Project transacted its first sale of 120,000 tons of carbon offsets to Brazilian cosmetics firm Natura Cosméticos.[8] The project is designed to sequester at least five million tons of carbon dioxide over 30 years while protecting critical rainforest habitat. Profits from the sale of credits will be used as part of the 50-year tribal management plan.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Paiter: Introduction." Instituto Socioambiental: Povos Indígenas no Brasil. Retrieved 6 April 2012
  2. ^ a b c d e "Suruí." Ethnologue. Retrieved 6 April 2012.
  3. ^ Zmekhol, D. "Children of the Amazon" Retrieved 07 Jan 2010
  4. ^ a b Süddeutsche Zeitung "Google Earth - Entdecker am Bildschirm" Retrieved 28 July 2009.
  5. ^ Butler, R. A. "Amazon Indians use Google Earth, GPS to protect forest home" Retrieved 07 Jan 2010
  6. ^ Washington Monthly "Big REDD" Retrieved 07 Jan 2010
  7. ^ "Brazilian tribe owns carbon rights to Amazon rainforest land" Retrieved 07 Jan 2010
  8. ^