Tuesday, April 25, 2017

A government of death is plundering our ancient Munduruku lands. Help us stop it

We, the Munduruku people, send our thoughts and words to you who live far away. We echo the cry for help from our mother, the forest, and from all the indigenous peoples in Brazil. Our home of Mundurukânia and all 13,000 of our people are threatened by the Brazilian government’s plans to build more than 40 hydroelectric dams in the Tapajós basin, as well as an industrial waterway and other major projects.

This would destroy the rapids of the Tapajós river that have long protected us from the pariwat (white people). Construction of the São Luiz, Jatobá and Chacorão dams would also flood our territory and erase the history written in the land. Such a disaster has already happened on the Teles Pires tributary, where the government and companies blew up our sacred waterfall, Sete Quedas. This left the spirits of our dead without a resting place. What would you say if we destroyed your graveyards, or the Vatican or Jerusalem?

The mining of gold, minerals and precious stones also carries the suffering of our people to distant lands. Diamond extraction in Sawré Muybu threatens another of our most sacred sites, called Os Fechos (Dajekapap), which we see as our origin and the site of the footprint of our god Karosakaybu.
Loggers are entering our lands and destroying our agũkabuk (abandoned villages that are archaeological sites). This is why at the beginning of April, alongside riverine communities, our warriors prevented the government from holding a public hearing that would have advanced plans for timber extraction. We will not accept logging projects in our lands.

Some of the places are said by the government to lie outside our lands. But we have occupied these places, along with the riverine communities, for many generations. We have our own ways of learning and taking care of the forest. We have been doing this for more than 500 years. Yet we must still remind the white people of their own laws. Brazil’s 1988 constitution has an entire chapter dedicated to indigenous peoples. Brazil also signed the International Labour Organisation’s indigenous and tribal peoples’ convention and the UN declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples. Are these dead words?.. read more: