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About 400 years ago, the discovery of gold mines in Goiás and Minas Gerais led to slaves being taken to work in the region. In search of freedom from the abuse they suffered, the slaves organized themselves in isolated communities far from the regions where they were imprisoned, leading them to find a refuge of freedom in Chapada dos Veadeiros, the quilombo that is today the quilombola community of Kalunga.


Approximately 330 kilometers from Brasília and 600 kilometers from Goiânia, Kalunga Historical Site and Cultural Heritage is located in the municipalities of Cavalcante, Teresina de Goiás and Monte Alegre, in the extreme north of the state of Goiás, extending to Tocantins in an area of 272 thousand hectares (2720 km²). In the territory, recognized by INCRA in 2005, there are more than two thousand families, totaling an average of eight thousand people and making up the largest remaining quilombo community in Brazil.


The Kalungas resisted for 3 centuries using the knowledge they inherited for their survival, such as using the environment in which they are inserted to meet their needs. The quilombola community only had contact with the outside world in the 1980s, which means that it still has a very strong culture and traditions today. They use planting, hunting and raising animals for subsistence, so they are always focused only on producing the essentials, not having created exaggerated production surpluses or a commercial/profitable vision.


Quilombola communities are ethnic groups made up of descendants of slaves who, in the process of resistance to slavery, occupied common territory, cultural and social characteristics to this day. They are characterized by relationships with the land, kinship, territory, ancestry, traditions and cultural practices. The main characteristics of the quilombos were not isolation and flight, but resistance and autonomy.


One of the main problems facing quilombola communities today is the non-recognition of ownership of the land they inhabit. Land title is a fundamental issue for the existence of communities. 3000 remaining quilombo communities have already been recognized by the Fundação dos Palmares, linked to the Ministry of Culture. Another 1500 are turning to INCRA to obtain the title, which is a right provided for by the 1988 constitution.


Quilombos represent a great expression of organized struggle in Brazil, in resistance to the colonial slave system, acting on various issues, in different historical and cultural moments.

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