“Rivers like the Klamath and the Xingu are the bloodlines of every human on the planet.”
Eye On The Amazon - Brasilia, Brazil – After an amazing journey deep into the Amazon we arrived safely in Brasilia with a hopeful feeling of urgency in the struggle to preserve the Amazon and its people. For our group – comprised mostly of indigenous North American youth – meeting our indigenous brothers and sisters, experiencing the Amazon’s unique environment, and witnessing the destruction being caused by the Belo Monte Dam project is powerfully motivating,
We are people who call the Klamath River home. The Yurok, Hoopa, Karuk, and Klamath tribes are the protectors of the Klamath River landscape. The campaign to remove the dams on the Klamath has been a long fight, won through science, protest and defending the inherent rights of indigenous communities. All of us have prioritized protecting the Klamath River in our lives and many of us have been in the struggle since we were little kids. Seeing the Amazon Basin facing these threats has focused us on the fight to save the world’s ecosystems and indigenous cultures. Through this experience, we have all become even more committed to the cause and will be warriors for life!
16-year-old Yurok tribal member Mahlija Florendo stated today, “Rivers like the Klamath, the Xingu, and the Amazon are the bloodlines of every human on the planet. They are our life-givers and they all run with the same blood through all of us. We need to realize that we are all human and we all need to stand up for our rights, for our rivers, and our mother earth. These people from the Xingu are family and all our blood runs red.”
The similarities between the genocide and oppression of indigenous cultures happening now in the Amazon and continuing in the U.S. are frightening. Power, mining and logging companies are wreaking havoc on the Amazon, and their resource extraction operations are disrupting the ecological balance of one of the richest biological hotspots on the planet. They are displacing the lives of people, who have been stewards of their lands since time immemorial , protecting and enhancing their environment.
Our interactions in the Xikrin-Kayapó village of Poti-Krô were profound. These people are facing a monster, the Belo Monte Dam. If the construction of Belo Monte continues we fear for the lives of the Xikrin, Kayapó, Juruna and Arara Tribes. The entire region is being affected, and the environment and inhabitants are being destroyed by this shortsighted venture.
Already we see deforestation, pollution, and mining corporations like the Canadian company Belo Sun moving in. As temporary workers from other regions inundate the area for the short-lived jobs offered by the dam’s construction company Norte Energia, the region’s inhabitants are being pushed out. If the dam is completed these people will be forced to work in mines, log the rainforest, or move to the cities to live in slums. The livelihoods of people who have subsisted from fishing, hunting, farming, and even tourism will be lost through the destruction of the ecology of the Xingu River region. “It’s depressing that the future of these kids depends on this company, which seems to have no idea what it’s like to live and depend on the Xingu River” said Damien Scott, 16-year-old Yurok, Karuk tribe member.” Full Article
Xingu Rising, by Todd Southgate, is a new short film about the struggle to defend the Xingu River and its people from the Belo Monte Dam and the Brazilian government’s development plans for the Amazon. It features images from the Xingu and Rio+20, and statements by Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff showing the immense dichotomy between the government and its people.