All that rainforest lost, all that mercury leaching into the water systems, poisoning Indigenous peoples and wildlife. Just for some gold! The price of that gold is far too high… We can’t afford it!

Yanomami mother and baby, Amazonas, Venezuela – photo: Barbara Crane Navarro

« You don’t understand why we want to protect our forest? Ask me, I will answer you!  Our ancestors were created with it in the beginning of time. Since then, our people have eaten its game and its fruit. We want our children to grow up here laughing. In the past, many of our people perished from your epidemics. Today I refuse to let their children and grandchildren die from the gold smoke!  Chase the gold miners out of our home! They are harmful beings whose thought is dark. They are metal eaters covered in deadly xawara epidemic smoke. »

  • – Yanomami spokesperson and shaman Davi Kopenawa

A forest river in indigenous territory before the invasion of gold miners

30% of what is now recognized as ancestral Indigenous lands are in danger of being «legally» opened to gold mining and other extractive operations as well as logging and industrial agriculture by the Bolsonaro government in Brazil.

Bills under consideration would also allow contact with isolated Indigenous peoples if there is «public utility» and authorize private companies to approach these groups if they are contracted to do so by the Government!

A forest in Indigenous territory after the invasion of gold miners

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… 

Brazil’s largest gang, the First Command of the Capital (PCC), is known to operate in Yanomami territory in Roraima, a largely Indigenous region along their gold and drug trafficking routes. These criminals have been hired to protect the gold mining areas, and have been instigating violence against the Yanomami with the use of automatic weapons and tear gas bombs for almost a year!

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 make shopping choices that don’t destroy nature and the lives of Indigenous peoples!

Yanomami boys, Alto Orinoco, Amazonas, Venezuela

DON’T MISS this magical 38-second film – “The Yanomami boy’s surprise friend in the jungle”! – Please be a friend, you too, for Indigenous peoples and their forests – Please Boycott ALL products from Deforestation!

It’s an excerpt of my film of instants of the daily life of a Yanomami community in the Amazon Rainforest made to accompany the children’s book series: “Amazon Rainforest Magic” “La Magie de l’Amazonie” and “La Magia de la Amazonia” for ages 8 to 100!

The full 13 minute, 16 second film – (age restricted by YouTube due to ancestral Yanomami customs which include traditional nudity) interwoven with illustrations from the “Amazon Rainforest Magic” books – is here:

Thanks so much for watching my films! Barbara

We can all make a difference in our daily choices wherever we are in the world!

Thank you for caring about preserving a future for the Yanomami and other Indigenous peoples!

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 All that rainforest lost, all that mercury leaching into the water systems, poisoning Indigenous peoples and wildlife. Just for some gold! The price of that gold is far too high… We can’t afford it!

  1. Pingback: All that rainforest lost, all that mercury leaching into the water systems, poisoning Indigenous peoples and wildlife. Just for some gold! The price … | Ned Hamson's Second Line View of the News

  2. jimwdollar says:

    We need a Wailing Wall. Each of us needs to have access to a communal Wailing Wall. We make life impossible by the way we live it. There is a lot I won’t miss when it is gone, but I also look forward to coming back and taking up the struggle in my next life. It’s Yin/Yang all The Way!

    Liked by 1 person

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