« Merchandise Love – The Value the *white people give the Gold they covet so much »

photo: Yanomami: shamanic transformation – Barbara Crane Navarro

« Today there are not many great shamans left in our forest. The gold smoke of epidemics nearly completely emptied it. Our fathers and our grandfathers did not trust the white people and had always feared their epidemic fumes.

They did not know that they had come to mark the edges of Brazil in the middle of our land. They never imagined that later these people’s children and grandchildren would come back in large numbers to dig gold from the rivers. 

They never thought that these outsiders would one day chase them from their homes to take their land! Then the xawara epidemics arrive in their footsteps and we immediately start dying one after another!

We are the few inhabitants of the forest who survived your fathers’ and grandfathers’ epidemic fumes. This is why I want to speak to you. Do not be deaf to my words! Stop your people from ravaging our land and making us die too! »

– Yanomami spokesman and shaman Davi Kopenawa

Gold mining site in indigenous territory

Gold mining and the indiscriminate use of mercury to ferret out gold are turning swaths of the world’s most biodiverse ecosystems into a nightmarish moonscape! 

Worldwide, illegal gold mining is more lucrative for criminal organizations, drug cartels, guerrilla groups and mafias than drug trafficking. For criminals posing as precious metals dealers, gold is the perfect medium for laundering illicit money from other illegal activities since illegal gold looks exactly like legal gold and the proceeds from selling it can be placed in the bank… 


As much as 75% of the gold extracted each year is used for jewelry, watches and other vain and futile status symbols sold by corporations in the luxury industry as well as discount retailers worldwide.  

Tens of thousands of rainforest trees must be uprooted, hundreds of tons of soil mined and mixed with dozens of tons of toxic environmental pollutants that contaminate indigenous lands for that one special gold ring…

Please give gifts that don’t destroy nature and the lives of indigenous peoples!

Yanomami boy, Alto Orinoco, Amazonas, Venezuela – photo: Barbara Crane Navarro

Please watch this 48 second film of the light installation « Yanomami shamans struggle against xawara smoke of epidemics » included here:


Yanomami observing gold mining site in their territory – photo of Yanomami, Alto Orinoco, Amazonas, Venezuela and photo montage – Barbara Crane Navarro

Please also listen to the Yanomami shaman’s message:


*The Yanomami shaman being quoted is referring to the destruction to the rainforest and indigenous lives since the “conquest of the Americas” by white (non-native) Europeans which began 520 years ago….

This destruction is ongoing and constantly damaging more Yanomami territory and degrading more Yanomami lives. In 1993, gold miners massacred 16 Yanomami in the village of Haximú. In May 2021, heavily armed gold miners attacked Yanomami daily for over a week in the village of Palimiú 

Gold miners are also propagating Covid-19 among many indigenous populations in all nine countries in the Amazon region.

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.
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3 Responses to « Merchandise Love – The Value the *white people give the Gold they covet so much »

  1. Pingback: Merchandise Love – The Value the white people give the Gold they covet so much — Barbara Crane Navarro – Tiny Life

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