« After the gold prospectors arrived … the forest had become bad and was filled with xawara epidemic fumes. The shaman elders who knew how to make the spirits’ image dance had died of these deadly fumes. »

Barbara Crane Navarro

Yanomami boys playing in the shabono, the communal house, Alto Orinoco, Amazonas, Venezuela – photo: Barbara Crane Navarro

As the Yanomami spokesman and shaman Davi Kopenawa says in his book The Falling Sky : « We went to the gold holes where the garimpeiros were working. … there were really very many of them here, far more than us!  They had dug vast ditches bordered with huge gravel heaps all over the place to find the shiny dust they were relentlessly searching the streams for.  All the watercourses were flooded with yellowish mud, soiled by motor oils, add covered in dead fish. Machines rumbled in a deafening roar on their cleared banks and their smoke stank up the entire surrounding forest. … 

I told myself: ‘Hou! This is all very bad. These white people seem to want to devour the earth like giant armadillos and peccaries! If we let them…

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