Neo-Colonialism – Legal and Illegal Gold Mining and other Extractive Industries vs Indigenous Peoples, Wildlife and Water!

Legal gold mine – photo: Barrick Gold Corporation

“Every day I wake up and all I see around me is pain and sadness because Barrick Gold killed everything here. Everything is dead.” says Torres, whose family has lived in Las Lagunas for generations. Now, Barrick’s Pueblo Viejo mine is destroying the region. “Barrick Gold is worse and more dangerous than Christopher Columbus,” she adds. “We had no concept of what the devil was until Barrick Gold came to our lands.”

Canada presents global extractive industries a business environment that supports speculation, offers government subsidies, enables capital flows to finance contentious foreign projects, and, most essentially, offers a legal haven from litigation.

But not only Canada is involved in legal gold mining on a massive scale. Gold mining is a global business with operations on every continent, except Antarctica. Together, the world’s top ten legal gold miners produced 27,48 million ounces of gold in 2020, worth approximately $48 billion.

Yes, elements – visual – capitalist, we live in a material- and materialistic – world.” Everywhere in the world where legal gold is mined, it’s ecocide and ethnocide, just like with illegal gold.

Yanomami observing illegal gold mining site in their territory – photo of Yanomami, Alto Orinoco, Amazonas, Venezuela and photo montage – Barbara Crane Navarro

Here is a Yanomami shaman’s message concerning gold and materialism – from the Brazilian NGO APIB – The Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil. 

« Hey – Look at me

We see you

We tried to show you

You never bothered to learn our language

You were always looking down

We’ve been warning you since the beginning

The land is alive

This land can’t be owned

This land is us

All of us

You wanted the stones

The Gold

Your shiny things

Titles – Flags – Profits

You called that progress

We tried to teach you

But you’ve always been so greedy

Too primitive – Too savage

To understand

Now you still bring curses over the Yanomami


And once again we are dying because of it

And all Indigenous land is being turned into 

ashes and mud

Five centuries

You never looked up to discover 

what we were holding in place

The sky itself

Your cities can see it

Your crops can see it

Your kids can see it

We can see it in your lungs

Take a deep breath

Open your eyes and look up

Can you finally see it ?

Help the Yanomami hold up the sky »

(This video contains flashing images – viewer discretion is advised):

Watch video:

How can you help? Please boycott all products from deforestation; gold, palm oil, gemstones, exotic wood, soy, beef, etc.!

Illegal gold mining site on Indigenous lands – photo João Laet

Please choose to buy products that don’t destroy Nature and Indigenous lives !

After decades of “advocating” for Indigenous peoples, the NGO Survival and a friend of the Yanomami, the anthropologist Bruce Albert, support “legal” gold! Why?

Will they ever decide to repudiate this position pro-legal-gold?

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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2 Responses to Neo-Colonialism – Legal and Illegal Gold Mining and other Extractive Industries vs Indigenous Peoples, Wildlife and Water!

  1. Pingback: Neo-Colonialism – Legal and Illegal Gold Mining and other Extractive Industries vs Indigenous Peoples, Wildlife and Water! — Barbara Crane Navarro – Tiny Life

  2. Pingback: Neo-Colonialism – Legal and Illegal Gold Mining and other Extractive Industries vs Indigenous Peoples, Wildlife and Water! | Ned Hamson's Second Line View of the News

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