As the forest vanishes, the Awá are trapped in a legal battle to save it. In 2009, a federal judge ruled that illegal settlers had to leave the Awá territories within 180 days. A legal appeal by one of the largest cattle ranchers in the region delayed the ruling. In December 2011, a second federal judge ruled that colonists and ranchers had to leave the land by
December 2012. Survival fears that continued legal wrangling will delay these departures, too. If the case continues in the legal system, it could take 20 or 30 years for the Brazilian Supreme Court to decide it. By that time, it will be too late for the Awá.
“Time is not on their side,” W