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Montevideo, December 9th 2022 - 20:40 UTC

 

 

Amazon indigenous leaders summit to form alliance against Bolsonaro's environmental policy

Friday, January 17th 2020 - 12:03 UTC
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“I don't want anyone to die in front of me. I don't want everyone to kill each other, the white people against the indigenous,” said  Raoni Metuktire leader of the Kayapo tribe “I don't want anyone to die in front of me. I don't want everyone to kill each other, the white people against the indigenous,” said Raoni Metuktire leader of the Kayapo tribe

Dozens of Amazon indigenous leaders have gathered in the heart of the threatened rainforest to form an alliance against Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro's environmental policy and his threats to throw their homelands open to mining concerns.

The main objective of the meeting is to present a united front against Bolsonaro's plans, which they say pose a threat to the Amazon and their way of life, as well as threaten open conflict over land rights.

“I don't want anyone to die in front of me. I don't want everyone to kill each other, the white people against the indigenous,” Brazil's leading indigenous chief, Raoni Metuktire, told the meeting, which began on Tuesday.

“Bolsonaro says a lot of bad things about us. He doesn't attack only the indigenous, but he attacks us more than anyone,” said the chief, his head adorned with an array of colorful feathers, his body smeared with black paint.

Wearing a labret - the ceremonial disc worn by warriors - in his lower lip, the 89-year old chief said he would personally travel to the capital Brasilia to present the meeting's conclusions to Congress.

“Over there, I'm going to ask Bolsonaro why he speaks so badly about the indigenous peoples,” said Metuktire, leader of the Kayapo tribe. He also highlighted the importance of “seeking political support” for the Amazon peoples in Europe.

Last August, Metuktire had a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron on the sidelines of the G7 summit in Biarritz, amid a raging international controversy over the Amazon wildfires that environmentalists said were the result of Bolsonaro's policies.

The far-right president strongly criticized the indigenous leader during his speech to the UN General Assembly in New York the following month.

Bolsonaro, accused of favoring Brazil's powerful agribusiness sector with a policy of deforestation, warned that “Raoni's monopoly of the Amazon is over.”

The meeting - held deep in the rainforest in the village of Piaracu in Brazil's western Mato Grosso state - echoes a previous effort to bring Amazon communities together to fight economic interests.

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