« Now we know where these evil fumes come from. It is the metal smoke, the epidemic smoke, and it is truly our enemy. In the past, these evil things remained buried, and our ancestors were not constantly sick the way we are today. Yet in their ignorance the white people started frenetically tearing the minerals out of the ground to cook them in their factories … they liberate the evil vapor … it ends up making us sick. Its poison is fearsome. We do not know how to fight it. This is why we are so worried. » – excerpt from the chapter « Cannibal Gold » of Yanomami spokesman and shaman Davi Kopenawa’s book The Falling Sky
Nine Yanomami children with Covid-19 symptoms died in January. Júnior Hekurari Yanomami, head of Condisi-YY, an indigenous health council, alerted authorities that the children had died in the two remote communities of Kataroa and Waphuta, near the border with Venezuela. Hekurari stated that « It is very concerning that so many children died in less than one month. » He also decried the lack of support by the state government and the neglect of health programs for indigenous peoples during the pandemic. Indigenous populations are at higher risk, living in close contact with other members of their families and communities. Inadequate testing for Covid-19 worsens this already precarious health situation.
As Covid-19 raged across Brazil, causing contaminations and deaths, gold miners did not quarantine and the illegal gold rush in indigenous territories, exacerbated by the complicity of government authorities, increased.
Bolsonaro had promised to authorize mining on indigenous lands during his presidential campaign and his government is pressing forward with bills to develop the Amazon region for industries, including gold mining.
The Yanomami territory in the Amazon region of Brazil is the largest indigenous land in the country, as vast as Portugal, and is also among the most severely deforested. The Yanomami territory has been ravaged by gold mining for over four decades. Gold miners brought diseases like measles, influenza and malaria in the past and are now vectors for Covid-19.
Please help the Yanomami and other indigenous peoples!
PLEASE DON’T BUY OR WEAR GOLD!
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