Deforestation and devastation of Indigenous lands in the Amazon – Here’s what we can do to help wherever we are in the world!

Photo: chief Raoni Metuktire

« For many years we, the Indigenous leaders and peoples of the Amazon, have been warning you, our brothers who have brought so much damage to our forests.
What you are doing will change the whole world and will destroy our home – and it will destroy your home too.

President Bolsonaro of Brazil is encouraging the agro-industry and gold miners to clear the forest – and he is not doing anything to prevent them from invading our territory.

Only a generation ago, many of our tribes were fighting each other, but now we are together, fighting together against our common enemy. And that common enemy is you, the non-Indigenous peoples who have invaded our lands and are now destroying even those small parts of the forests where we live that you have left for us.
We call on you to stop what you are doing, to stop the destruction, to stop your attack on the spirits of the Earth. When you cut down the trees you assault the spirits of our ancestors. When you dig for minerals you impale the heart of the Earth. And when you pour poisons on the land and into the rivers – chemicals from agriculture and mercury from gold mines – you weaken the spirits, the plants, the animals and the land itself. When you weaken the land like that, it starts to die. If the land dies, if our Earth dies, then none of us will be able to live, and we too will all die.

Photo: Kayapo child

Why do you do this? You say it is for development – but what kind of development takes away the richness of the forest and replaces it with just one kind of plant or one kind of animal? Where the spirits once gave us everything we needed for a happy life – all of our food, our houses, our medicines – now there is only soya, cattle and contaminated rivers.
So why do you do this? Who is this development for? We can see that it is so that some of you can get a great deal of money. In the Kayapó language we call your money piu caprim, ‘sad leaves’, because it is a dead and useless thing, and it brings only harm and sadness.
When your money comes into our communities it often causes big problems, driving our people apart. And we can see that it does the same thing in your cities, where what you call rich people live isolated from everyone else, afraid that other people will come to take their piu caprim away from them. Meanwhile other people starve or live in misery because they don’t have enough money to get food for themselves and their children.
But those rich people will die, as we all will die. And when their spirits are separated from their bodies their spirits will be sad and they will suffer, because while they are alive they have made so many other people suffer instead of helping them, instead of making sure that everyone else has enough to eat before they feed themselves, which is our way, the way of the Kayapó, the way of Indigenous people.
You have to change the way you live because you are lost, you have lost your way. Where you are going is only the way of destruction and of death. To live you must respect the world, the trees, the plants, the animals, the rivers and even the very earth itself. Because all of these things have spirits, all of these things are spirits, and without the spirits the Earth will die, the rain will stop and the food plants will wither and die too.
We all breathe this one air, we all drink the same water. We live on this one planet. We need to protect the Earth. If we don’t, the big winds will come and destroy the forest.
Then you will feel the fear that we feel. »

  • Raoni Metuktire, chief of the Indigenous Brazilian Kayapó people.

Destruction from gold mining in Indigenous Lands

Here’s what we can do to help:
We can boycott all products from deforestation; gold, palm oil, exotic wood, soy, meat.
We can make sure that we buy products that are locally-sourced and not purchase items that travel thousands of kilometers.

I think that one of the best ways to help preserve the Amazon Rainforest is to directly help the Indigenous peoples who are protecting it! Please join me in supporting the Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil.
They do far more than just petition governments who are benefitting financially from the ongoing destruction. Apib is assisting Indigenous communities address ongoing health issues and they, along with Indigenous lawyers, are taking the Brazilian government to court!
Apib informs us that the Indigenous mobilizations during the month of April are confirmed. The biggest mobilization, the Acampamento Terra Livre (the Liberate Our Land camp), is scheduled to take place between the 4th and 8th of April 2022, in Brasília, in the Federal District.  Let’s Demarcate Brasilia!

Here’s additional information about the Apib in English, Portuguese and Spanish:

and here:

Please donate here if you’d like to:

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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5 Responses to Deforestation and devastation of Indigenous lands in the Amazon – Here’s what we can do to help wherever we are in the world!

  1. Pingback: Deforestation and devastation of Indigenous lands in the Amazon – Here’s what we can do to help wherever we are in the world! | Ned Hamson's Second Line View of the News

  2. Pingback: Deforestation and devastation of Indigenous lands in the Amazon – Here’s what we can do to help wherever we are in the world! — Barbara Crane Navarro – Tiny Life

  3. katelon says:

    Thanks for this important post!

    I appreciate you following my blog!

    Liked by 1 person

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