Tribal resistance

Tribes and rubber tappers unite against Bolsonaro

Amazon leaders have gathered in Xingú to join forces against the Bolsonaro government.

Indigenous people and rubber tappers are joining forces for survival in Brazil

Raoni Metuktire. Image: Midia Ninja

Indigenous tribes and rubber-tapping leaders yesterday gathered to make opposition to President Bolsonaro’s measures which are destroying the rainforest, their source of livelihood.

According to a UOL report, around 450 people representing 47 tribes gathered for the second day in a row to mount resistance against the government’s attack on ancestral lands, which corporations want to grab for their environmentally-destructive activities.

The meeting was summoned by Kayapó chief Raoni Metuktire. He is urging congress to block the president’s onslaught on indigenous rights to their ancestral land.

“We are her to defend our land and tell (Bolsonaro) to stop speaking evil of us,” he said.

Raoni has been a global icon of indigenous activism since the 1980s, when he became good friends with singer Sting.

He said he would never accept mining operations on his land. Among the leaders attending the meeting was Angela Mendes, daughter of murdered rubber-tapping leader Chico Mendes, Brazil’s most iconic environmental martyr, who was murdered in 1988 due to his work to protect the Amazon.

“If we stand united, we can resist. The State has the power, but we have the power of the waters, the flowers and the ancestral land,” said Mendes during a press conference.

Mendes has joined forces with Sônia Guajajara, another prominent indigenous leadership. Guajajara heads Articulação dos Povos Indígenas (APIB), an organization working to defend indigenous rights and recently went on a tour of Europe to raise awareness of the grave situation faced by indigenous people under the new fascist government.

Guajajara remarked this is a most grave moment in Brazil’s history and compared it to a war scenario.

Escalating violence against tribal people in Brazil threaten the future of the forest and the indigenous populations.

Funai, the government agency for indigenous rights, currently headed by a police authority picked by Bolsonaro, did not make itself present at the meeting because the agenda was not in line with the government’s agenda, it said.

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