Brazil’s Shaman Appeals in Germany for Bushmen Rights

    Brazilian Indians Davi Kopenawa by Fiona Watson

    Brazilian Indians Davi Kopenawa by Fiona Watson Davi Yanomami, a renowned Indian leader from Brazil's Amazon, has made an emotional plea to the Botswana government to let the Kalahari Bushmen live on their land, "in peace for the rest of their lives". Davi, UN Global 500 award winner, spoke this Thursday, October 25, from Berlin where he is holding meetings with top German politicians.

    "I don't think it's good how the Botswana government is treating the original indigenous people in Botswana. It is prohibiting them from using water – but we all drink and need water. The water is on their land and comes from there – it's for all the Bushmen. The Bushmen have the right to use their own land. They can't abandon their sacred places which they know.

    "I am a Yanomami and I think that the Botswana government doesn't like the Bushmen. It wants the Bushmen to die. But I don't want the government to ill-treat my indigenous brothers and sisters, the Bushmen, who have lived for many, many years on that land. It's their land.

    "I don't want them to suffer for no reason at all. I want the government of Botswana to respect the Bushmen. That land, the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, is their home. They should be able to live there in peace for the rest of their lives."

    Six Bushmen have been arrested for hunting in New Xade resettlement camp, according to First People of the Kalahari, a Bushman human rights organization.

    The latest arrests bring the total number of Bushmen arrested for hunting since last year's landmark court ruling to at least forty-eight, with most being arrested since June this year.

    The Botswana High Court held last December that the Gana and Gwi Bushmen had been evicted illegally from their land in the central Kalahari in 2002. The court also held that the government had broken the law in refusing to issue them with hunting permits.

    Besides refusing to issue hunting permits, the government has also refused to provide transport for the Bushmen to return. It has banned them from using their water borehole, and will not let them take their small numbers of livestock back with them.

    Twenty percent of the Yanomami died in just seven years in the 1980s and 1990s when goldminers invaded their land. After a long international campaign led by Survival, the tribal peoples movement, Yanomami land was finally demarcated as the Yanomami Park in 1992.

    Davi Kopenawa Yanomami is a shaman and spokesman for the Yanomami people. He led the long-running international campaign to secure Yanomami land rights, for which he gained recognition in Brazil and around the world.

    His courage, combative spirit and tenacity are reflected in his Yanomami nickname, "Kopenawa", or "hornet".

    Davi was born around 1955 in Marakana, a Yanomami community on the Upper Toototobi river in the Brazilian state of Roraima, northern Amazon. One of his strongest childhood memories is of his mother hiding him under a basket when white people came to his village for the first time.

    In the 1950s and 1960s, visits by the SPI (Brazilian government Indian Protection Service), and later by missionaries from the US-based New Tribes Mission, brought fatal diseases to the isolated Yanomami. Davi's community was decimated and both his parents died in the epidemics which swept through the area in 1959 and 1967.

    In 1985, Davi began to fight for the recognition of the vast area inhabited by the Yanomami in the Brazilian states of Roraima and Amazonas. Goldminers were invading the area, and Yanomami were dying of diseases to which they had no resistance.

    In 1989 Davi won a UN Global 500 award in recognition of his battle to preserve the rainforest. His struggle has taken him to many countries.

    The first time he left Brazil was at the invitation of Survival International, which in 1989 asked him to accept the Right Livelihood or Alternative Nobel Prize on its behalf in a ceremony in the Swedish Parliament.

    Today, Davi lives in his community, Watoriki (the Windy Mountain), practicing shamanism with his father in law Lorival, one of the oldest and most respected Yanomami shamans. He is married to Fátima and they have six children and two grandchildren.

    Survival International – http://www.survival-international.org

    Tags:

    • Show Comments (0)

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    comment *

    • name *

    • email *

    • website *

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    Ads

    You May Also Like

    IMF

    Brazil Does the Chic Thing and Lends the IMF US$ 10 Billion

    The Brazilian government is prepared to support the International Monetary Fund, IMF, with US$ ...

    The Guarani-Kaiowa Indians of Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil

    Brazilian Court Evicts Indians from Their Traditional Land

    A federal court of Mato Grosso do Sul issued a writ of entry in ...

    Sagarana by Guimarães Rosa

    Closer Ties Between Brazil and Arab World Bring Literature to Forefront

    Brazilian Arab warmer relations have already translated into an expansion of cultural exchange between ...

    Women in Brazil: So Protected Still So Abused

    Women are granted by the Brazilian Constitution with an impressive quantity of ‘fundamental’ rights. ...

    In Brazil, Buggies Never Go Out of Style

    The buggies, those little hoodless cars with fiberglass bodies and large back wheels, have ...

    Counterfeiting office in São Paulo, Brazil

    Brazil Breaks Multi-State Gang Who Counterfeited Papers to Get US Visa

    The Brazilian police, this Thursday, August 13, seized documents and computers during an operation ...

    O Globo's front page celebrating Brazil's victory against Japan

    World Cup: Now Is the Winter of Brazil’s Discontent

    Watching two old men playing chess in a park would have been more exciting ...

    Brazilian Expert in Portugal Teaches How to Fight Child Labor

    The Portuguese-speaking countries want to learn strategies from Brazil to combat child labor. The ...

    ICANN logo

    Brazil Wants Bigger Role for Emerging Nations in Internet’s Management

    Egypt has just hosted the 33rd meeting of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names ...

    A Candid Talk of Rice with Brazil’s Veja Magazine

    During her recent visit to Brazil, last week, U.S. Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice ...