« My grandparents fished to feed the community in this river. Now it’s just sludge, gasoline, diesel and mercury contamination. Fish die and our Yanomami land is dying. – The gold miners took everything, our safety and our health. »


Yanomami child playing in a river 
 photo: Barbara Crane Navarro

« My grandparents fished to feed the community in this river. Now it’s just sludge, gasoline, diesel and mercury contamination. Fish die and our Yanomami land is dying. 

We Yanomami suffer, we don’t have peace. The gold miners destroy our houses (Yanopë), destroy our forest (Urihi), destroy our spirituality of the shaman and spirits of the forest (Xapori and Ayakora).

The gold miners took everything, our safety & our health. » 

  • Júnior Herurari Yanomami

Dredging barges used by illegal gold miners in Indigenous territory
             photo: Divulgação

Two Yanomami children, 7 and 5 years old, drowned when they were pulled underwater by the powerful pumps on a dredging barge used for illegal gold mining on the Parima river in Roraima, Brazil. The boys had been playing in the river about 300 meters from their home village. 


Yanomami children in the contaminated river near their home
photo: Reprodução/Twitter @Dario_Kopenawa

Yanomami families use the rivers and streams near their communal home for drinking water, bathing and cooking. The invasion of Yanomami territory by thousands of gold miners is leaving forests devastated as well as rivers and fish poisoned by the toxic mercury used in the gold mining process. The illegal gold mining dredges run on diesel fuel that contaminates the atmosphere with smoke and fumes.

The vice president of the Hutukara Yanomami Association, Dario Kopenawa, stated that over 20,000 gold miners are prospecting illegally in the territory where 25,000 Yanomami live, polluting the rivers with mercury used to separate the gold from mud and sand. The community told him that dredging activity for mining “shakes the land and river,” creating waves and sullying the water.

The current gold rush in the Amazon region is detailed in eloquent  images here in this report (text in English / Portuguese): report 


Deforestation and contamination by gold miners in Indigenous territory 
photo: ISA

This madness must stop! 

Please help end the cycle of deforestation and devastation! 

The consumption of this unnecessary, environment-ravaging product fueled by publicity that attempts to convince the gullible that owning gold confers glamor or worth must end!

The power and responsibility lies with us, the consumers.  If we purchase gold or other products from deforestation, we’re complicit.

Please boycott all products from deforestation; gold, palm oil, beef, soy, exotic wood, gem stones, etc.!

Please purchase locally-sourced, in-season items that aren’t transported from 3000 kilometers away!

For more details regarding the merchandising of gold using the Yanomami and trees, please see here:

The DEATH of NATURE for Gold and Diamond Merchandise – The ART of Greenwashing by the Luxury Merchants of the Death of Nature and Indigenous Peoples…in their own words… updated 2021

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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10 Responses to « My grandparents fished to feed the community in this river. Now it’s just sludge, gasoline, diesel and mercury contamination. Fish die and our Yanomami land is dying. – The gold miners took everything, our safety and our health. »

  1. So sorry to hear that. Deforestation must stop. Thank you 🌍

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Pingback: « My grandparents fished to feed the community in this river. Now it’s just sludge, gasoline, diesel and mercury contamination. Fish die and our Yanomami land is dying. – The gold miners took everything, our safety and our health. » — Barbara Cra

  3. Pingback: « My grandparents fished to feed the community in this river. Now it’s just sludge, gasoline, diesel and mercury contamination. Fish die and our Yanomami land is dying. – The gold miners took everything, our safety and our health. » — Barbara Cra

  4. Oh gosh that’s so sad Barbara about those kids drowning in the river, makes me weep for their parents

    Liked by 1 person

  5. A scene of absolute devastation in these pictures

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: « The great soul of the forest is in peril! –  The people of the forest are calling to you. – It is a cry of the Yanomami people, it is a cry of the earth. – We are calling for help! »  | Barbara Crane Navarro

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