In the name of my people, I address you as relatives in the fight for our future. I am a hereditary chief of the Huni Kuī people who live along the Envira river in the Amazon basin. We have been the guardians of the Amazon forest since time immemorial. I am the President of the association of my people, representing 117 remote Indigenous communities (16,450 people) in Brazil.
I come to you to ask for your help. There is an emergency in Brazil that can have wider implications for everyone. Brazil is voting to take away our territories, to cancel Native rights and to open the Amazon forest to predatory projects. We need your help.
We have a far-right government who is anti-Indigenous and is attacking us at this very moment. The government is passing laws that will allow them to steal the territories that we have reclaimed at great cost to our people.
There is a landmark case in the Brazilian Supreme Federal Court that will be judged in August. If the government wins, this will intensify Indigenous destitution, dispossession and genocide.
The Brazilian congress is also voting on Bills that will cancel our rights of consultation over what happens in our territories and that will let the government own and have unrestricted access to all natural resources in what is left of our ancestral land.
There are also isolated Indigenous groups who will lose their constitutionally protected choice to remain isolated. This is all part of a larger plan of the current government to open the Amazon and other protected areas to extractive industries.
These laws may create a dangerous precedent for governments everywhere to strip Indigenous rights even when they are constitutionally protected and even when said governments have signed the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
These laws also threaten the Amazon Forest and other protected areas in Brazil. The Amazon is crucial for all living beings on this planet.
For the Huni Kuī and many other Native peoples of the Amazon, the forest is our university, our hospital, our family. It is sacred and it is screaming for help right now. The Amazon is very close to the brink of a tipping point, after which it could turn it into a savanna. We have been fighting land grabbers, mining and logging companies and exploitative agro-business. Many of our leaders have lost their lives for this cause and many have been murdered.
Everyone needs to understand that the rights of nature and the rights of Indigenous peoples are one and the same. We need to get them to see that if we stand any chance of halting climate disaster, then Indigenous peoples rights must be a priority.
We need your help. We need support for our campaign and the strength of all our ancestors to win this fight.
We ask for prayers, songs, ceremonies, protests, and donations if you can.
We ask that your messages and support songs be shared with the world through social media, if appropriate (via Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or Tiktok using the hashtag #forestguardians).
Please ask your Indigenous council to write a formal letter in reply to this call. The letter and any other messages or videos from your people to my people will be published here.
We need to work together against colonial violence and for our future as original peoples and defenders of the earth on this planet.
We cannot not be together
Please send us your letter of support to firstname.lastname@example.org
Chief Ninawa Huni Kuī explains the emergency in Brazil and the implications for both Indigenous peoples and the Amazon forest.