Report by Survival International.
shaman and spokesman Davi Kopenawa, known as the ‘Dalai Lama of the
Rainforest’, has told the American people that, ‘We must fight together to to
save the Earth’.
in the USA on Earth Day and was welcomed to Ohlone tribal land in San Francisco
by a representative of the Chictactac Ohlone village in a special ceremony. He
was invited to visit California by the Presidio Trust, whose Crown Jewels
exhibit features stunning photos of the Yanomami and their territory in the
Brazilian Amazon, while warning of the challenges they face.
internationally renowned for his tireless work to protect his tribe’s forest.
He is President of the Yanomami Association, Hutukara, and together with
Survival International and the NGO Pro Yanomami Commission, led the
international campaign for the protection of the Yanomami land after an influx
of illegal miners in the 1980s decimated the tribe. The government finally
recognized the Yanomami land as an indigenous territory in 1992, but illegal
mining continues today.
Davi Kopenawa gave several enlightening talks and sold and signed copies of his new book The
Falling Sky, which has also been reviewed on this blog. Tens of thousands of
people tuned in to Davi’s live ‘Ask Me Anything’ session on the website Reddit,
where he answered questions about shamanism, rainforest life, racism and the
portrayal of the Yanomami people as ‘violent’ by anthropologist Napoleon
Chagnon and others.
Davi met with
California’s governor, Jerry Brown, and warned him of the grave threats his
people face as illegal gold-miners are polluting their rivers and spreading
malaria, and a draft bill threatens to open up their land to large-scale
mining. He told hundreds at Berkeley University that ‘Large-scale mining seems
like a big monster that wants to destroy the earth, to destroy nature’, and
pleaded for action.
event was an inspirational talk with high school children who asked about the Yanomami,
their way of live and their conservation of the rainforest.