Indians speak out against mining
on their land
leaders in Brazil are voicing their opposition to a draft law which if approved
will allow mining in indigenous territories.
Yanomami spoke recently to a Survival researcher by telephone from the Yanomami
Yanomami boy, Brazil.
© Victor Englebert/Survival
am very worried about the mining law. It will destroy our heartland. We use
the water that flows through Yanomami land for drinking, cooking, washing and
want to publicise this more and let everyone know what we are up against.
offer us a bit of money but this is a sop. The Brazilian government will not
help us. Once again they want to finish with my people, because they think mining
is king. But mining will bring us disease, alcohol and pollution.
who live far away please spread our message – there is another fight going
on for our Yanomami land. Our land is recognised – the whole world knows
this and the name Yanomami. But now the Lula government is ruining our land
once again, even though it’s demarcated. The miners are being encouraged
to invade and this is a crime.’
this month a group of Metyktire Kayapó, including their leader Raoni,
sent a strongly worded letter to President Lula:
do not like the mining law which the Lula government wants to approve. Mining
will ruin indigenous lands and the Kayapó will be very angry if mining
invades our lands….
don’t want the Lula government to get in the way of our life. We have
the right to live on our land, which was our land before the whites arrived.
How can we live on spoilt land?
will only enrich the big companies and the miners while we, the Indians, remain
poor. We don’t want money from mining. Our wealth is our forest and clean
rivers, our gardens, our fruits, our medicines and everything that exists in
the government wants mining it can do it in other places, on the ranchers’
and politicians’ lands.’