Last Stand for the Xingu River
Chief Megaron Txukarramãe
Chief Megaron Txukarramãe addressed the crowd at the recent Piaraçu assembly.
Blended into the deciduous forests of Mato Grosso in Brazil’s Upper Xingu River basin, the village of Piaraçu is as much a home to the Kayapó people as a symbol of their fortitude, forged by sustained cultural and political struggle for rights and territory. It is also where, after decades of indigenous resistance against the damming of the Xingu, the Kayapó are leading last ditch attempts to defend the river, its peoples, and its forests from the impending Belo Monte Dam Complex.
In Piaraçu for three days, I had the honor of participating in an extraordinary, inspiring, and historic gathering of 320 indigenous representatives from 18 ethnicities from the Xingu basin and beyond. We were joined as well by leaders of the Xingu Alive Forever Movement (MXVPS), who brought news from endangered communities of Altamira. Called by the legendary elder Kayapó Chief Raoni Metyktire, this assembly aimed to discuss the impending human rights and environmental disaster that is the Belo Monte Dam on the Lower Xingu – in particular the menace it represents to Brazil’s indigenous peoples – and ways for its opponents to forge a single and unified force to resist its construction.
The days and nights of the Kayapo meeting were marked by fierce speeches denouncing Belo Monte and its government protagonists, punctuated by the spontaneous and colorful dances of different groups that demonstrated the rich cultural diversity of those in attendance. Their bodies streaked with intricate body paint designs and adorned with beads, feathers, and bright headdresses, leaders and warriors brandished long battle clubs and bows, shaking them defiantly at the government that has chosen to dismiss them, ignoring their pleas and trampling on their rights. As the meeting progressed, the piercing songs of men and women grew in intensity, matched by their anger and thirst for justice and recognition, bearing witness to the power of these people, who are committed to overcoming severe and escalating threats to their way of life.
Kayapó warriors demonstrated their great opposition to the impending Belo Monte Dam project which would change their way of life forever.
Sign this petition to send a clear message to the Brazilian government. Watch the video here: http://amazonwatch.org/take-action/stop-the-belo-monte-monster-dam
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