Photo by Santiago Navarro F
The indigenous Munduruku of the Amazon, in Brazil, denounce that there are traitorous politicians, daydu as they call it, who seek to justify illegal mining in their territory by co-opting indigenous people to promote its legalization. But they deny this position, assuring that there are “some brothers and sisters, blind because of the brightness of gold, who are playing dirty games to the daydu,” who publicly assume that the Munduruku people are in favor of garimpo and mining.
Various Munduruku peoples, in a public statement, have said that no politician represents them for not representing their way of doing politics and for not being part of their traditional organization. “They can’t talk about our sacred places, they can’t negotiate on behalf of the Munduruku people,” the statement says, referring to politicians who intend to legalize illegal mining in the Amazon.
Attached to agreement 169 of the International Labor Organization (ILO) on indigenous rights and culture, the Munduruku appeal to their autonomy and their right to decide internally on the projects contemplated in their ancestral lands. In relation to illegal mining, they certainly assume that they do not want it because it is dividing their people, and it is also “bringing diseases, contaminating our people with mercury, bringing drugs, drinks, weapons and prostitution.”
These people are known as fire ant warriors and they announce that they are prepared to resist against all the projects planned for the Amazon. “We are ready for war and we want to warn you that here, in our territory, in the Mundurukânia, occupied centuries ago by our ancestors, where all the parts of the Tapajós find the traces and signs of Karosakaybu and Muraycoko, nobody is going to enter to exploit, destroy and transform everything into merchandise and money.”
The misgovernment of Brazil does not speak for the Munduruku people
Bolsonaro, in his speech at the UN, says that we indigenous people are “cavemen.” He defines us for what he is. Bolsonaro does not represent us and his words are empty. Our boys and girls have more wisdom than him.
We have gathered village chiefs, warriors, warriors, shamans, singers and teachers from our village Munduruku of the Middle and Upper Rio Tapajós and the lower Río Teles-Pires. We talk about all attacks and threats to indigenous peoples in Brazil, our territories and our rights.
We bring our word.
We know that the daydu – which is what we call treacherous politicians – are making laws to end the process of demarcation of indigenous lands. They want to free our land for mineral exploitation, hydroelectric construction, waterways and for the railway project called Ferrogrão.
They want to end indigenous peoples, destroying our forests, rivers, and sacred places. We are against garimpo* and mining in indigenous lands. The garimpo is dividing our people, bringing diseases, contaminating our people with mercury, bringing drugs, drinks, weapons and prostitution. And greed.
All this affects all indigenous peoples, traditional peasant communities, such as Montanha e Mangabal and mainly our Munduruku people who have lived and protected the rivers and jungles of the Tapajós River basin for hundreds of years. There is no dialogue with those who want destruction. We do not negotiate our lands and we will prevent any organization that serves these purposes from entering the Tapajós.
Some brothers and sisters, blind by the brightness of gold, are playing the dirty game of the daydu and publicly claim that the Munduruku people are in favor of garimpo and mining. We will repeat it: their words are full of daxpim – full of hate and lies.
These Mundurukus who are sitting at these tables in Brasília with you are sick. They let garimpo teams destroy our land, they do not represent us and they are not the majority.
No municipal councilor represents the Munduruku people, because it is not part of our politics and our traditional organization. He cannot speak about our sacred places, he cannot negotiate on behalf of the Munduruku people.
We are more than 14 thousand people and we have our resistance movement and our associations. We have a consultation protocol that they have to respect as a law, and we have the right of veto.
No law can say how the consultation of the peoples should be. Convention 169 already exists to say that it means free, prior and informed consultation and our protocol says how it should be done. They are not consulting us about any law or project they want to do in the Tapajós River region, which is our home.
We have the right to autonomy, to have our organization and decide on our future, as you wrote in the Federal Constitution of 1988 and in ILO Convention 169.
We are building our good living with the wisdom of women, generators of life, of our shamans, spiritual guides, of our warriors, of our leaders and also of our children, and we are ready to rip all these laws and projects that distribute death.
We want to warn you that we are a warrior people. We learned to war with the great Karodaybi in the silences of the early morning, and that is why other people know us as fire ants.
We are ready for your war and we want to warn you that here, in our territory, in the Mundurukânia, occupied centuries ago by our ancestors, where all the parts of the Tapajós find the traces and signs of Karosakaybu and Muraycoko, nobody is going to enter to exploit, destroy and transform everything into merchandise and money. The government has been slow to comply with the laws that you wrote and to expel the invaders from our lands. We denounced more than 20 years ago the performance of pariwat (non-indigenous), loggers and garimpeiros and we always act alone.
But we are not going to stop, or give up. We never lost the war and we have already cut some enemy heads. Is it possible that we have to re-cut enemy heads? We know how to act, based on our policy and our traditional organization.
Munduruku Ipereg Ayu movement, Associação das Mulheres Munduruku Wakoborun Associação Indígena Pariri (Médio Tapajós) Associação, Dace (Teles-Pires), Associação Wuyxaximã, Pusuru Indigenous Association, Associação Kurupsare, CIMAT, Sawe
*Mining of immediate exploitation, generally superficial and mostly illegal. There is a legal possibility to regularize the garimpo in previously determined areas, on an individual or cooperative name, by environmental permit and for certain types of minerals.