The Kayapo' tribe lives in the tropical rain forests of Brazil in an area that is surrounding the tributaries of the Xingu river. The Xingu river is in itself a tributary of the great Amazon river and flows for nearly 2,000km (1242 mi.) But recently the lives of the Kayapo' people are in jeopardy. This is because the president of Brazil, Dilma Vana Rousseff, has just authorized the construction of a dam that will flood their homeland.

The impact of this dam, the Belo Monte, will be disasterous in several ways. The economic damage it will cause is enormous because the Xingu River basin has four times more biodiversity than all of Europe.
The flooding of the rainforest (up to 400,000 hectares) will release large amounts of methane, the greenhouse gas which is far more damaging than carbon dioxide. It will also displace up to 20,000 - 40,000 people including the Kayapo' tribe which is an entire society.
Chief Raoni is the leader of the Kayapo' tribe which traditionally practices slash and burn farming on small plots of land.

Although the Brazilian government forbids the displacement of the Indians from their traditional land, it also allows for a very convenient exception - where the National Congress deems removal of the people to be "in the interest of the sovereignty of the country". In this case it is argued that the construction of the dam is in the country's interest.

In a major attempt to fight this proposal, the Kayapo' leadership have had to become very world savvy. They have fought their battle with foreign weapons, including launching petitions and protests, and engaging media and lawyers. This was not their first attempt to stop this dam, they were successful in 1989. This time has appeared to be different. Upon first hearing the news, Chief Raoni wept in dismay. But the Kayapo' are fighters and they and their partners have launched a last ditch effort. This includes another petition to urge the Brazilian government to listen to their concerns and respect indigenous land rights. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has asked the Brazilian government to act in good faith in order to arrive at an agreement with the people that will be effected by this monumental decision.

Please take a minute to support the Kayapo' Tribe's right to stay in their homeland and stop the construction of the dam. Please sign the petition below. Thank you.

Responses to "Construction of Brazilian dam threatens to destroy Brazilian Kayapo' Tribe Homeland and the Environment"

  1. Anonymous says:

    these people have a right to live in there homeland just like anyone else

  2. Jamaica says:

    Those who approve of the dam doesn't know anything about true and sustainable development. What is not humane is that the aboriginal Kayapo has been undermined as a lesser priority by the Brazilian government. It is ironic that this ethnic group has to be disposed for the benefit of the "people".

  3. That is a photo of a Yanomami boy, not a Kayapo boy. Kayapo people do not pierce their faces in that way. Having said that, thanks for helping spread the word.

Write a comment