NO BLOOD GOLD ! – A message for Davi Kopenawa, Claudia Andujar and Survival with an admonition from cacique Raoni Metuktire:

When the cacique Raoni Metuktire came to Paris to speak, he asked that Europeans stop eating meat in order to protect the peoples of the Xingu from the destruction of their territory by the agro-industry. Along the same line of thought, all of you, speaking on behalf of the Yanomami, should ask people in Europe to stop buying, selling and wearing gold in order to protect Yanomami territory from the predatory industry of gold merchandise. 

gold mine in Yanomami territory
photo João Laet/The Guardian

Cartier, the luxury gold watch and jewelry company inviting you to come to Paris to speak is making money from the sympathy that French people feel for the Yanomami and using you all as promotional gifts to greenwash their involvement in the extractivist gold industry. The exposition “The Yanomami Struggle” is being presented by the very industry that is causing the destruction to indigenous lives.

Cartier operates more than 300 stores in 125 countries. Owned by the Richemont Group, Cartier is its most profitable business and most valuable brand. Compagnie Financière Richemont is the third wealthiest of the big luxury industry conglomerates worldwide.

photo montage: series “Pas de Cartier” – Barbara Crane Navarro 
Claudia Andujar in London in 1989. Photograph: Robert M Davis/Oxfam/Courtesy Instituto Moreira Salles (detail)

There is no sustainable way to extract gold. Forests are destroyed to make way for mining pits and rivers are contaminated. Cyanide is used in the legal gold mining industry instead of the mercury used in illegal mining but the toxic results of using cyanide are the same. The gold industry is a labyrinth of miners, bankers, traffickers, and luxury shops. Even in large-scale, industrial legal gold mining there are lax regulations, land grabbing, government-sanctioned expropriation and toxic waste.

Drug cartels and organized crime control the illegal gold distribution market and this illegal supply chain goes all over the globe, commanding an important share of the world’s gold merchandise. These narco-traffickers are contributing to deadly violence in indigenous territories of the Amazon region. Their operations used to rely principally on drug trafficking and now depend on buying and selling gold in order to launder their illegal drug money. One of the reasons illegal gold is so valuable to criminal groups is that, unlike cocaine, there’s a legal version that looks exactly like it. Once gold is processed in a refinery, it is no longer traceable and criminal networks push dirty gold to corporations like Cartier, among others.

publicity photo by Cartier, reminiscent of the wealthy Capitol of Panem in The Hunger Games universe

Cartier represents the commodity fetishism of luxury jewelry – items that are functionally useless to human society. You can click on this link: cartier.com.br to see what luxury gold items they are selling in Brazil and then you can click on Fondation Cartier at the bottom of the page to see how they are selling you to make it seem as though they care about the forest and indigenous people while they continue to sell gold to the world.

The Netflix episode “Dirty Gold” – part of the series “Dirty Money” – a documentary about the gold industry being used for money laundering by drug cartels since 2007, mentions Cartier by name. Behind the huge quantities of dirty gold moving around the world lies a tangled web of dirty money, illegal mining and environmental devastation.

It is appalling that 75% of the gold dug out of the earth yearly is destined to be made into jewelry, watches and other useless status symbols marketed by the luxury goods industry. The result of the delirium for owning and wearing gold adornments is irreversible destruction of ecosystems and the degradation of indigenous lives by gold miners and now potentially death from the coronavirus they propagate…

We all breathe the same air, we all drink the same water, we all live on a single Earth. We all must protect her.” – cacique Raoni Metuktire


“My fight is to protect the forest, so that we can live in peace”- cacique Raoni Metuktire 520 years of resistance – Photo: Ricardo Stuckert

    “You must make every choice as though the life of your Earth Mother depended upon it, as though your own life depended upon it, as though your children’s lives depended upon it.” – John Lundin

About Barbara Crane Navarro - Rainforest Art Project

I'm a French artist living near Paris. From 1968 to 1973 I studied at Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, Rhode Island, then at the San Francisco Art Institute in San Francisco, California, for my BFA. My work for many decades has been informed and inspired by time spent with indigenous communities. Various study trips devoted to the exploration of techniques and natural pigments took me originally to the Dogon of Mali, West Africa, and subsequently to Yanomami communities in Venezuela and Brazil. Over many years, during the winters, I studied the techniques of traditional Bogolan painting. Hand woven fabric is dyed with boiled bark from the Wolo tree or crushed leaves from other trees, then painted with mud from the Niger river which oxidizes in contact with the dye. Through the Dogon and the Yanomami, my interest in the multiplicity of techniques and supports for aesthetic expression influenced my artistic practice. The voyages to the Amazon Rainforest have informed several series of paintings created while living among the Yanomami. The support used is roughly woven canvas prepared with acrylic medium then textured with a mixture of sand from the river bank and lava. This supple canvas is then rolled and transported on expeditions into the forest. They are then painted using a mixture of acrylic colors and Achiote and Genipap, the vegetal pigments used by the Yanomami for their ritual body paintings and on practical and shamanic implements. My concern for the ongoing devastation of the Amazon Rainforest has inspired my films and installation projects. Since 2005, I've created a perfomance and film project - Fire Sculpture - to bring urgent attention to Rainforest issues. To protest against the continuing destruction, I've publicly set fire to my totemic sculptures. These burning sculptures symbolize the degradation of nature and the annihilation of indigenous cultures that depend on the forest for their survival.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to NO BLOOD GOLD ! – A message for Davi Kopenawa, Claudia Andujar and Survival with an admonition from cacique Raoni Metuktire:

  1. Michael Howard says:

    A well-written article, Barbara, and quite true. Lucky you visited the Yanomami when you did. The rich continue to grow richer, but the virus makes no distinction between rich and poor and the pandemic will even things up a bit. -Mike Howard

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Daniel Austin says:

    The issue of gold mining in indigenous territories and the global gold industry as a whole is devastating.
    How can Cartier pretend to have empathy for the Yanomami while they continue to sell their expensive gold jewelry? I’ve been remarking for a while how stridently the NGO Survival has been lambasting the NGO WWF for unethical practices.
    I wonder how Survival justifies their presence at the Fondation Cartier, speaking in support the the Yanomami communities that Cartier’s own gold industry is destroying. Unethical? Obviously.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Aden Johnson says:

    Foundations, particularly those promoting contemporary art, have often been created by predatory corporations to avoid paying taxes and also to launder money and/or their reputations. Cartier, with their direct connection to the gold industry and their involvement with the “industry” of contemporary art is a case in point. Exploitative in every respect.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Andrew Jeffress says:

    Very true that instead of collaborating with Cartier, a purveyor of blood gold and diamonds, Survival should live up to their decades of supporting indigenous issues and speak out against this travesty of an exhibition in “support” of the Yanomami people whom Cartier are using as shills for their dirty industry.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. czls says:

    How can it be possible that Davi Kopenawa, representing the Yanomami, Claudia Andujar, a photographer who has been championing them for decades and representatives of the NGO Survival were at the Cartier Foundation in Paris to speak on behalf of the Yanomami at the opening of “The Yanomami Struggle”? The Cartier Foundation represents the luxury gold watch and jewelry industry that has been, and is currently, destroying the Yanomami territory and any hope that they could have for a future…

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Indeed, the question is how can Andujar, Kopenawa and the NGO Survival possibly reconcile supporting the ongoing Yanomami struggle against gold mining in their territory while participating in this Cartier-gold industry-sponsored travesty?

    Liked by 3 people

  7. I’m stunned by how blatantly the Cartier luxury jewelry company is exploiting empathy and compassion for the plight of the Yanomami as they struggle to protect their rainforest from the ravages of gold miners who are now also vectors of coronavirus!
    Using the Yanomami for the purpose of greenwashing their disreputable gold extraction industry is an unethical and immoral device; the means by which these vendors of blood gold can appear to be disconnected from their source of supply.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Reblogged this on Barbara Crane Navarro and commented:

    The Netflix episode of “Dirty Money” – “Dirty Gold” – a documentary about the gold industry being used for money laundering by drug cartels, mentions Cartier three times by name. Behind the huge quantities of gold moving around the world lies a tangled web of money laundering, illegal mining and environmental destruction !!!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Pingback: A message for Davi Kopenawa, Claudia Andujar and Survival with an admonition from cacique Raoni Metuktire: | Barbara Crane Navarro

  10. Pingback: Are You Wearing Gold? | Barbara Crane Navarro

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s