‘Non-indigenous peoples have invaded our lands and are now burning even those small parts of the forests where we live, that you have left for us.’ Forest fires in Altamira, Pará state, Brazil. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

DECOLONIZE THE AMAZON

We, the peoples of the Amazon, are full of fear. Soon you will be too

By  (*) - TG - 0

You destroy our lands, poison the planet and sow death, because you are lost. And soon it will be too late to change

For many years we, the indigenous leaders and peoples of the Amazon, have been warning you, our brothers who have brought so much damage to our forests. What you are doing will change the whole world and will destroy our home – and it will destroy your home too.

We have set aside our divided history to come together. Only a generation ago, many of our First Nations were fighting each other, but now we are together, fighting together against our common enemy. And that common enemy is you, the non-indigenous peoples who have invaded our lands and are now burning even those small parts of the forests where we live that you have left for us. President Bolsonaro of Brazil is encouraging the farm owners near our lands to clear the forest – and he is not doing anything to prevent them from invading our territory.

We call on you to stop what you are doing, to stop the destruction, to stop your attack on the spirits of the Earth. When you cut down the trees you assault the spirits of our ancestors. When you dig for minerals you impale the heart of the Earth. And when you pour poisons on the land and into the rivers – chemicals from agriculture and mercury from gold mines – you weaken the spirits, the plants, the animals and the land itself. When you weaken the land like that, it starts to die. If the land dies, if our Earth dies, then none of us will be able to live, and we too will all die.

Why do you do this? You say it is for development – but what kind of development takes away the richness of the forest and replaces it with just one kind of plant or one kind of animal? Where the spirits once gave us everything we needed for a happy life – all of our food, our houses, our medicines – now there is only soya or cattle. Who is this development for? Only a few people live on the farm lands; they cannot support many people and they are barren.

Many of the Indigenous peoples' territories are actually unceded lands, illegally ocupied by the state of Brazil, its governance and its henchmen including international corporations guilty of crimes against humanity, genocide and ecocide.

So why do you do this? We can see that it is so that some of you can get a great deal of money. In the Kayapó language we call your money piu caprim, “sad leaves”, because it is a dead and useless thing, and it brings only harm and sadness.

When your money comes into our communities it often causes big problems, driving our people apart. And we can see that it does the same thing in your cities, where what you call rich people live isolated from everyone else, afraid that other people will come to take their piu caprim away from them. Meanwhile other people starve or live in misery because they don’t have enough money to get food for themselves and their children.

But those rich people will die, as we all will die. And when their spirits are separated from their bodies their spirits will be sad and they will suffer, because while they are alive they have made so many other people suffer instead of helping them, instead of making sure that everyone else has enough to eat before they feed themselves, which is our way, the way of the Kayapó, the way of indigenous people.

You have to change the way you live because you are lost, you have lost your way. Where you are going is only the way of destruction and of death. To live you must respect the world, the trees, the plants, the animals, the rivers and even the very earth itself. Because all of these things have spirits, all of these things are spirits, and without the spirits the Earth will die, the rain will stop and the food plants will wither and die too.

We all breathe this one air, we all drink the same water. We live on this one planet. We need to protect the Earth. If we don’t, the big winds will come and destroy the forest.

Then you will feel the fear that we feel.

 

(*) Raoni Metuktire is an environmentalist and chief of the Indigenous Brazilian Kayapó people

 

Brazil's indigenous people: 'We fight for the right to exist'

  • 25 April 2019

Thousands of indigenous people have protested in the Brazilian capital, Brasília, to defend hard-won land and cultural rights that they say are under threat from the government of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro.

Indigenous men take part in a protest to defend indigenous land and cultural rights
Image copyright Reuters
 

Some 4,000 indigenous people from across Brazil are expected for the three-day annual "Free Land" demonstration. They have set up camp along the main avenue leading to the iconic Congress building amid heavy security.

This year's event has taken on special importance after Mr Bolsonaro, who has promised to "integrate" indigenous people into the rest of the population and questioned the existence of their reserves, took office in January.

Indigenous men take part in a protest to defend indigenous land and cultural rights
Image copyright Reuters
 

Mr Bolsonaro says the indigenous territories are too big in relation to the number of people who live there and has promised to freeze new demarcations and open some of them to agriculture and mining.

The president has already transferred the creation and limitation of reserves from Brazil's indigenous rights agency, Funai, to the agriculture ministry, a controversial decision that was seen as a victory for the powerful agribusiness sector.

 

Indigenous men take part in a protest to defend indigenous land and cultural rights

Image copyright Reuters

 

According to Funai, there are more than 400 demarcated indigenous territories across the country, or 12.2% of the territory, with some 500,000 inhabitants. The majority of them are located in the Amazon region and some live totally isolated.

The president - who has said the indigenous communities are being exploited and manipulated by non-governmental organisations - and his Environment Minister, Ricardo Salles, have also strongly criticised the environmental protection agency, Ibama, in charge of policing the Amazon to stop deforestation.

 
Indigenous men take part in a protest to defend indigenous land and cultural rights

Image copyright Reuters

 

"This government that's in power today is trying to exterminate the indigenous people, but our people are warriors," indigenous leader Cacique Dara was quoted by AFP news agency as saying. "We don't care about wealth, what's important is nature."

Activists say the relaxation of the protections could lead to greater deforestation of the Amazon rainforest and threaten the existence of indigenous tribes.

"Having suffered 500 years of genocide and massacres, Brazil's tribal peoples are not going to be cowed by President Bolsonaro, however abhorrent and outdated his views are," Stephen Corry, from rights group Survival International, said earlier this year.

An Indigenous man prepares meal at the Free Land camp

Image copyright Reuters

 

The demonstrators, some carrying posters saying "Our land is sacred", "No mining on indigenous lands" and "We demand the demarcation of our lands", were due to meet members of Congress and the Supreme Court. But no talks with government officials were scheduled.

Indigenous leader Mário Nicácio, one of the event's organisers, told Folha de S.Paulo newspaper that the decision by the Bolsonaro government to deploy the National Force to the streets around the protest was "a sign of their position towards the indigenous communities."

Indigenous men take part in a protest with Greenpeace activists to defend indigenous land and cultural rights

Image copyright Reuters

 

The protesters are also against the president's decision that transferred Funai from the justice ministry to a recently created ministry of women, family and human rights, led by an evangelical pastor, and changes to how healthcare is provided to the communities.

"We don't just fight for constitutional rights, we fight for the right to exist," indigenous leader Sonia Guajajar said.

 

Daiara Tukano: Existence as Resistance: an Indigenous perspective from Brazil, 23 April 2019

Talk given to the Radical Anthropology Group at Daryll Forde Seminar Room, Anthropology Building, 14 Taviton Street, London WC1H 0BW on 23 April 2019.

What is the indigenous situation in Brazil today?

Brazil is a country with a great diversity of peoples and cultures, guardians of ancestral knowledge, who today wish to share some of their wisdom and visions of the world. In dialogue with Extinction Rebellion activists, tonight's speaker will survey the current indigenous panorama to build alliances to shift the actual dominant paradigm, and to encourage the creation of strategies that can contribute to the protection of mother nature, cultural diversity and human rights across this vast region. Daiara Tukano, of the Tukano indigenous nation of the Upper Rio Negro, is an indigenous activist and artist. With a Masters Degree in human rights at the University of Brasilia, she is a researcher on the right to memory and truth of indigenous peoples. She is an independent communicator and coordinator of Radio Yandê, the first indigenous web-radio in Brazil at www.radioyande.com. She is one of the first women of her people to be initiated into the traditional spirituality of the Tukano nation, studying the sacred medicines with her father in ceremony. https://www.radioyande.com

 

Brazil: Attorney General Warns About Attack on Indigenous Lands

  • Aerial view of a burned tract of Amazon jungle cleared by loggers near Porto Velho, Brazil, August 29, 2019.

    Aerial view of a burned tract of Amazon jungle cleared by loggers near Porto Velho, Brazil, August 29, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 3 September 2019

"Today we have only one enemy: Brazil's government, Brazil's president," Mudjire Kayapo, an indigenous leader said.

Brazil's Attorney General's Office urged the Army to begin an "urgent operation" on Monday to prevent illegal loggers from invading and attacking the Alto Rio Guama Reserve, which is located in the state of Para and belongs to the Tembe people.

In its request to the Army command, the Attorney General's Office alleged that the attack on the reserve is imminent due to threats made by loggers who were expelled from the indigenous territory in recent weeks.

The request for an urgent action to prevent the invasion was also sent to the Federal Police, the National Indian Foundation (Funai) and the regional government of Para.

The Alto Rio Guama Reserve, which is in the Parangominas municipality at the Amazon region, was created in 1989 and covers an area of ​​one thousand hectares, where about 148 Tembe and Turiwara indigenous are currently living.

According to the Attorney General's office, these indigenous peoples "face constant invasions mainly from illegal logging gangs; however, the problem has worsened since last year."

In May, the indigenous leaders denounced the death threats against them by illegal loggers and their gunmen. Despite this risk, however, the Alto Rio Guama communities took action on August 27 to expel the invaders without help from the Brazilian authorities.

An indigenous territory, home to 1500 Xavante people, has been almost C͟O͟M͟P͟L͟E͟T͟E͟L͟Y͟ ͟D͟E͟S͟T͟R͟O͟Y͟E͟D͟ by fire.

Make no mistake, Bolsonaro, with his public backing for loggers and ranchers, bears a huge responsibility.

Queimadas atingem quase toda terra indígena de 219 mil hectares em MT, diz Ibama

Polícia Federal faz operação para tentar identificar os criminosos responsáveis pelo fogo na reserva Areões; ninguém foi preso.

The meme reads, "Ibama and Federal Police operate against deforestation and fires on indigenous lands in Matto Grosso. The reserve has 219 thousand hectares and is inhabited by some 1,500 Xavantes. Ibama says that almost all of the indigenous territory has already been destroyed by the fire."

As a result, they confiscated equipment and machines that the invaders used to deforest their reserve. In retaliation, however, loggers threatened to attack the villages.

On that date, the Attorney General's Office also requested that the Para's Federal Police act urgently to prevent attacks on the Xikrin people, which said that their reserve had been invaded by some 300 loggers.

These sort of aggressions against the indigenous lands at the Amazon rainforests are not sporadic occurences, but rather frequent events, which have been encouraged by the dismantling of environmental institutions carried out by Brazil's far-right President Jair Bolsonaro.

"The attack on the Amazon is facilitated by Bolsonaro's rhetoric and actions against indigenous communities and nature," the Survival International director Stephen Corry said and warned that Amazonian forests "are being destroyed at an extremely accelerated rate", which has no precedent over the last 50 years.

Indigenous Environmental Network@IENearth

 

Make no mistake the fires are an act of continued genocide by the Indigenous Peoples of the Amazon by Bolsonaro.
Violence against the land is violence against Indigenous communities. https://twitter.com/CJAOurPower/status/1166766863352836097 …

Climate Justice Alliance (CJA)@CJAOurPower

As the fires rage on in Brazil, the Climate Justice Alliance stands in solidarity with the Indigenous peoples of the Amazon as they fight back against the war being waged on them by Brazilian President Bolsonaro:https://climatejusticealliance.org/inexorable-solidarity-indigenous-peoples-brazil/ … #AmazonFires #AmazonRainforest #Amazon

View image on Twitter

 

"Loggers, miners and landowners' predatory actions and threats have increased tremendously in the Bolsonaro's anti-indigenous government​​​​​​," said Sonia Guajarara, an indigenous woman who was the Socialism and Liberty Party vice-presidential candidate in the 2018 elections.

In response to the businessmen's actions against their territories, the Brazilian indigenous peoples are increasing their contacts in order to defend the Amazon.

In the last week, for instance, in the Menkragnoti Reserve, which belongs to the Kayapo nation, a kind of "general assembly of the Xinguan forest peoples was held, in which representatives of 14 peoples participated," the BBC reported on Thuesday.

"Today we have only one enemy: Brazil's government, Brazil's president," Mudjire Kayapo, an indigenous leader told the British outlet.

"Although we do have internal disputes, people come together to fight against this government."

RELATED:

'It's Too Much Land For So Few Indians', Bolsonaro Holds

 

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