A Kayapó leader speaks out

January 6, 2020 — The Kayapó leader Raoni Metuktire has lived through through 24 administrations of the Brazilian government since first making contact in the early 1950s with the world outside his rainforest home.  President Bolsonaro has been the worst, at least for those who care about preserving the Amazon forest and respectiing indigenous people.

In an interview with the Guardian, the Kayapó chief said he wanted to speak out about the far-right administration’s plans to allow mining in indigenous territory and he warned that Brazil’s Amazon policies threatened global efforts to protect nature and address the climate emergency.  Attitudes on the ground have quickly shifted causing a sharp increase in illegal deforestation and threats to the lives and safety of Brazil's indigenous people.

ICFC works with the Kayapo to protect their ratified territories, which span an area the size of South Korea or Portugal.  They are wonderful partners in conservation, and while our purpose is to conserve the biodiversity they safeguard, it means a lot to us that we're also enabling the Kayapo to preserve their traditional way of life and culture. Their lands are also crucial for protecting the vast carbon stores of the Amazon as the Amazon approaches a deforestation tipping point beyond which it will not generate sufficient rainfall to sustain itself.

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