The Sete Quedas or “seven waterfalls” on the Teles Pires River, which runs through the Amazon rainforest states of Mato Grosso and Pará in central Brazil, are a spiritual oasis venerated by several indigenous groups. But the 20-metre-high rocky falls are to be covered by a reservoir created by a hydroelectric dam that is to flood an area of 95 square km. “It’s a sacred area, our creator and mother. And the ‘pajé’ (shaman) says it is where the fish lay their eggs,” João Kayabi, 52, told IPS by phone from the area. He is the chief of Kururuzinho village, home to 106 members of the Kayabi community, who speak a Tupí-Guaraní language. For the Kayabi, the area around Sete Quedas must be left untouched, because it is the dwelling of a god who is responsible for the natural balance.“It will be left underwater, and will only be a memory. We are trying to keep that from happening,” Kayabi said. Sete Quedas is also sacred to two other indigenous communities: the Apiaká and the Mundurukú. For the latter, the falls are “the mother of fish” and the dwelling-place of their ancestors.