Yanomami - ‘Mining project will bring death to our people’

February 21, 2008

This page was created in 2008 and may contain language which is now outdated.

Yanomami Indian leaders in Brazil have claimed that a project to open Indigenous land for mining would ‘bring death’ to their tribe.

The leaders spoke out following a visit by government officials to Yanomami communities.

‘The project will bring death to the Yanomami, just like the goldminers did in the 1980s and 1990s’, said the Yanomami organisation Hutukara in a statement sent to a local newspaper. Twenty percent of the Yanomami died in just seven years when goldminers invaded their land.

The statement continued, ‘If this project is approved, it will bring many problems to all the Indigenous territories in Brazil. When the companies arrive on our land, what will happen? The forest will be cut down, the rivers will be polluted, the animals will disappear. Diseases like malaria, tuberculosis, diarrhoea and pneumonia will increase.’

The Yanomami also complained that the government officials had visited their communities for only an hour and a half, and had not listened to their views.

‘They arrived telling us that our people were going to get lots of benefits, and that we had to accept the government’s project. They didn’t ask whether we were for or against the mining,’ said Dário Yanomami.