Sonia Guajajara is this month’s Human Rights profile. She is the first indigenous woman to become a minister in Brazil.
Sonia was born in 1979 in the Arariboia indigenous land in Maranhão to illiterate parents. In 2023, she took over the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples, created for the first time in Brazil by the newly elected President of the Republic, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Indigenous population in Brazil have never had their own ministry, even though there are more than 896.000 Indigenous people in Brazil.
However, it is not just in the ministry that she is a pioneer. Sonia was also the first indigenous woman to be elected federal deputy for the state of São Paulo in Brazil in 2022. That same year, she was selected by Times magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. She graduated in Letters and Nursing and has completed a postgraduate degree in Special Education.
As an activist leader in defense of the rights of indigenous peoples and the environment, Sonia has a voice in the UN Human Rights Council. Between 2009 and 2021, she made several apparences and statements at the World Climate Conferences (COP) and the European Parliament.
Image: Reprodução /Twitter/@GuajajaraSonia