Brazil’s new leftist president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva – also known as Lula – has appointed two women Amazon activists, Marina Silva and Sônia Guajajara, as his environment and Indigenous ministers.
The two are looking to revert the former far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro’s anti-environment policies and protect Indigenous people’s rights and land.
64-year-old Marina Silva will reassume the role of the environment minister, which she had held between 2003 and 2008 during Lula’s previous presidency.
As environment minister, she had help cut down deforestation dramatically in the Amazon. She said she aims to rescue “the lost socio-environmental agenda”.
Meanwhile, 48-year-old Indigenous woman, Sônia Guajajara, will lead the first ever Indigenous ministry.
Guajajara was featured in TIME’s list of most influential people of 2022 for her campaign against Bolsonaro’s policies.
She had also been part of a record number of Indigenous women running for office in Brazil in a bid to increase Indigenous representation.
Guajajara said the creation of an Indigenous ministry led by an Indigenous woman is
“proof of President Lula’s commitment to safeguarding our autonomy and space to take decisions about our territories, our bodies and our ways of life.”
“We will repeal all injustices committed against Indigenous peoples,” Lula said during his speech to Congress.
Silva and Guajajara are also part of a record breaking number of women in Brazil’s cabinet.