Native Village Youth and Education News

March 1, 2009 Issue 195 Volume 4


"Wake Up, World!" - SOS from the Amazon
By Mario Osava
Condensed by Native Village

Belem, Brazil:  More than 1,000 indigenous people recently formed a human banner with the message "SOS Amazon" to the world, Photographed from the air, the banner was formed only hours before the 2009 World Social Forum began hearings in Brazil. 

The mass message reflects "our concern about global warming, whose impact we will be the first to feel, although we, the peoples of the Amazon, have protected and cared for the forests," said Francisco Avelino Batista, an Apurinán Indian from the Brazilian Amazon.
"A crisis of civilisation" is under way.

"We are raising our voices as a wake-up call to the world, especially the rich countries that are hastening its destruction," said Edmundo Omoré from the Xavante indigenous community in Mato Grosso .

The indigenous people from 50 countries planned to raise the issues of indigenous peoples rights and preserving the environment with leaders attending the WSF. 1,300 people joined the efforts including Quilombolas members (communities of Afro-Brazilian descendants of escaped slaves). Thousands of others were forced to remain home due to transport costs and financial difficulties.

Their message said that Indigenous peoples' voices should be heard, because
"we are the ones who were born and raised in the middle of the forest, and who lead a lifestyle that contrasts with the ambition of capitalism, which does not bring benefits to all," said Omoré.

Furthermore, "we are the first to suffer the effects" of climate change. Batista said rich people can cool themselves down with air conditioners and buy food in supermarkets, but "we depend on the fish in the river and the animals in the forest, so we are concerned about the future that belongs to everyone."



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