Yanomami oppose mining on their land

Yanomami oppose mining on their land

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John Ahni Schertow
September 10, 2007
 

The Yanomami have been recently speaking out against a new law in Brazil which if approved, would allow mining on indigenous territories.

Davi Yanomami, was recently interviewed by Survival International, telling them: “I 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 bathing.”

Davi also says he wants to inform others about what they are up against, and has asked “you who live far away” to help spread their message,
that the land of the Yanomami is once again being threatened.

During the 1970s and 80s, Brazilian Goldminers invaded their territory—shooting them, destroying their villages, and exposing them to diseases to which they had no immunity. Twenty percent of the Yanomami died in just seven years.

After an international campaign led by Survival, Yanomami territory was demarcated as the ‘Yanomami Park’ in 1992 and the miners were expelled, but Brazil has and continues to refuse to recognize their ownership of the land.

From Survival – Indian leaders in Brazil are voicing their opposition to a draft law which if approved will allow mining in indigenous territories.

Davi Yanomami spoke recently to a Survival researcher by telephone from the Yanomami organisation, Hutukara.

‘I 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 bathing.

‘I want to publicise this more and let everyone know what we are up against.

‘They 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.

‘You 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.’ (source)

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