Enemy Amazonian tribes unite against government to protect rainforest
Recent headlines have been inundated by the devastating fires tearing through the Amazon rainforest.
While the wildfires were, in part, the result of global warming, they were also influenced by the actions of the government, which has authorized deforestation and the contamination of water sources with pesticides. The latter of which poses a particular risk to the tribes, who rely on natural rivers as their primary water sources.
However, Christian Poirier, a program director for conservation non-profit group Amazon Watch, revealed that cattle ranchers and farmers regularly set fires to rainforest land in order to clear it for grazing and agriculture. And according to Alberto Setzer, a senior scientist at Brazil's National Institute for Space Research (INPE), roughly 99% of the Amazon's fires are started by people, "either on purpose or by accident".
Now, warring native tribes have put aside their differences to unite against the Brazilian government and the alleged threat it poses to what has been described as the "Earth's lungs".
Per Socioambiental, representatives from 14 indigenous groups in the Xingu basin met in the Kubenkokre village of the Terra Indigena Menkragnoti to discuss the issue. Despite being a protected part of the Amazon, 69,000 hectares of this area have been destroyed between January and June this year, the BBC reported.
One of the leaders present, Mudjire Kayapó, said to the BBC: "Today we have only one enemy, which is the Brazilian government, the president of Brazil, and the invasions of non-indigenous people.
"We have internal fights, but to fight this government, we join."
A manifesto released by the group stated: "We are extremely concerned about what is currently happening in Brazil. The Government says that we forest peoples want to live like all Brazilians and that we no longer need our land.
"But this is a lie! The Government wants to open our territories for the economic exploitation of farmers, prospectors, miners, loggers, hydroelectric dams, highways and railroads."
The tribes believe it is their responsibility to help protect the rainforest, which is not only their home but a pivotal part of the world's ecosystem.
They wrote: "We are responsible for protecting the Xingu forest, which benefits the entire region and the residents of large cities, contributing to the essential climate balance for the country and the world.
"We want recognition and respect for our ways of life and also participate in decisions about the future of Brazil. We demand to be heard, especially about what affects us, as guaranteed by ILO Convention 169, which is law in Brazil.
We will never stop being the people of Xingu, we will never leave our lands, we want to leave them to our children and grandchildren. Xingu is one."