« The attack on the peoples of the Yanomami Indigenous Land already took place in the 1980s, with the invasion of more than 40,000 gold miners. Today, in 2022, history repeats itself. » 

« The reality we are living and its consequences is one of violence and vulnerability. My people are suffering. We ask for the support of the global population to join our cry for help for the immediate withdrawal of the gold miners from our territory!  »

  • Yanomami spokesman Dario Kopenawa.

Illegal gold mining site in Indigenous Territory

The tragedy for the Yanomami began many decades ago when illegal wildcat gold miners invaded their territory, protected in theory by Brazil’s constitution, but not in fact.

The gold miners uproot trees in the rainforest in order to excavate the soil and the sand in the riverbeds using heavy machinery. Then they use high-powered hoses and diesel pumps to break up the sediment to look for gold, leaving craters filled with stagnant, mercury-contaminated water across the degraded forest. 


Gold miners destroying Indigenous Lands

The deafening noise of the machines frightens away the game animals that the Yanomami traditionally hunt to feed the community. The mercury the prospectors use to amalgamate gold into nuggets contaminates the soil and water. Fishing for the community is no longer possible because the fish are poisoned by mercury. There is no longer unpolluted water in the streams and rivers to drink, cook with, or bathe in.

Six kilos of mercury is poured into the forest waterways for each one kilo of gold extracted. The Bolsonaro government is encouraging gold mining and other extractive industries in Indigenous Lands and pushing through legislation to legalize it. The price of gold is skyrocketing and organized criminals are bankrolling gold mining operations; supplying machinery, dredges, helicopters and planes. This deadly mathematics has led to rampant malnutrition in Yanomami communities.


Young Yanomami girl

The gold miners also propagate diseases, including covid-19 and malaria. Cases of malaria are exploding among Indigenous communities, leaving them sick and lethargic. This gold mining invasion of Yanomami territory deprives communities of their traditional means of subsistance and has left them vulnerable. Gold miners are now preying on teenaged girls and children and exploiting and abusing them sexually. Some Yanomami girls are pregnant and several have died from the abuse.


Yanomami communal house (upper left) close to contaminated gold ming site

«The gold miners are destroying our rivers, our forest and our children. Our air is no longer pure, our game disappears and our people weep and cry out for clean water. We want to live in peace. We want our Yanomami Territory back.» 

  • Yanomami spokesman Júnior Hekurari Yanomami

Please help the Yanomami, you, too!

Please Boycott Gold and all products from Deforestation!

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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4 Responses to « The attack on the peoples of the Yanomami Indigenous Land already took place in the 1980s, with the invasion of more than 40,000 gold miners. Today, in 2022, history repeats itself. » 

  1. picpholio says:

    So sad to see this happen !!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: « The attack on the peoples of the Yanomami Indigenous Land already took place in the 1980s, with the invasion of more than 40,000 gold miners. Today… | Ned Hamson's Second Line View of the News

  3. Pingback: « The attack on the peoples of the Yanomami Indigenous Land already took place in the 1980s, with the invasion of more than 40,000 gold miners. Today, in 2022, history repeats itself. »  — Barbara Crane Navarro – Tiny Life

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