Brazilian Indigenous People Campaign To Remove Gold Miners From Their Land
The indigenous people who live in a particular part of the Amazon rainforest have started a campaign to kick around 20,000 gold miner off their land.
The Yanomami people live on a reservation of land called Yanomami Park, which is one of Brazil's largest indigenous reserves, but have been regularly experiences trouble from the thousands of gold miners who want to exploit their land near the Venezuelan border.
It's been a problem since the 1980s, but only recently have the Yanomami expressed concerns about the outsiders bringing the Covid-19 virus into their communities.
Survival International, a group that champions the cause of the few remaining indigenous tribes that remain in the world, told IFL Science that the Yanomami and the National Human Rights Council of Brazil have submitted a request to the International American Commission on Human Rights asking Jair Bolsonaro's Brazilian government to remove the gold miners from their land.
The Yanomami are a group of around 35,000 people living in the mountainous rainforests inf northern Brazil and into southern Venezuela.
They live a simple hunter gatherer lifestyle that also includes shifting cultivation farming methods.
Whilst some of them live in contact with the non-indigenous population, several groups remain uncontacted and isolated from the world at large.
They'd like to keep it that way, too.
In the statement, Dario Yanomami, of the Hutukara Yanomami Association, said: "For many years we have spoken to all the authorities, who already know about our situation, we have even denounced it at the UN, but so far no one has given us any answers,
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"They [the miners] are contaminating our rivers with mercury, digging big holes in our land, killing our animals and our environment. Our health is very bad from drinking water contaminated by the mining.
"I am fighting for my grandparents, for the recognition of our people.
"We have suffered a lot from the invasion of gold miners since the 1970s and 1980s. The miners have killed us, including our children, as if we were animals. Our population has decreased by approximately 22 percent."
A gold rush in the 1970s and 1980s brought loads of miners to the area, and put them into confrontation with the Yanomami.
In 1993, 16 Yanomami people - including a baby - were massacred by miners in their village. That led to five miners being found guilty of genocide.
The mining has increased in recent years, and - as well as the conflict - has led to mercury poisoning in rivers and animals.
Survival International also claims that some Yanomami women have also been solicited for sex by miners, putting them at risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections.
So far, three Yanomami people have died of Covid-19 and dozens have been infected. A petition imploring Bolsonaro to expel the miners has gained more than 270,000 signatures.
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