Indians tell President Lula ‘We will not accept mining on our land’

November 19, 2007

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Kayapó Indian leader Raoni has delivered a letter to Brazil’s President Lula, telling him, ‘We will not accept mining on Indigenous land’.

The letter, signed by Indians from the Kayapó, Panará, Tapajuna and Yudjá tribes, was prompted by a bill currently being debated in the Brazilian parliament, which could open up Indigenous territories to large scale mining.

The letter says, ‘We don’t want miners, prospectors, loggers, fishermen or anyone else invading our territory. We want the Indigenous rights that were won in the 1988 Constitution to be respected. President Lula and the Brazilian government must respect and protect Indigenous peoples.’

The Indians also voice their opposition to a series of hydroelectric dams that the government plans to build on the Xingu river and its tributaries. ‘We will not allow the construction of these hydroelectric dams, which would destroy our territories, our natural resources and the lives of our peoples.’

They also demand that the Brazilian government recognise the Kapôt Nhinore territory, which is sacred to the Mebengôkre Kayapó Indians.

Read the letter (in Portuguese)

Brazilian Indigenous People