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Indigenous Peoples: the healing of the Earth

# OneEarth

Indigenous Peoples: the healing of the Earth

Watch the video-manifesto “Indigenous Peoples: The Cure of the Earth” by indigenous activist and communicator Samela Sateré-Mawé in partnership with the animal and environmental protection organization Alianima for World Environment Day 2022, a date promoted by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), whose theme will be “One Earth”, which  invite us to reflect on how to live a sustainable life in harmony with nature.

Indigenous Peoples:

the healing of the Earth

Authorship: Samela Sateré-Mawé

“When we are children in the village, there is no greater joy than playing in the river with the other children: I remember competing and jumping from the branches of the trees straight into the river. At that time, we thought that the whole world was there, among forests, animals, children and water.

Sometime later, we are inundated with news about mining dredges in front of the villages that are in the Yanomami territory. Dredgers capable of sucking and killing children. Faced with the criminal facts, I thought: if a child cannot even play in their territory, their home, where will we be safe?

For us, indigenous peoples, our territories are an extension of our bodies: there is no difference between living beings, we are all part of the same order, in which no being is worth more than the other. For us there is no difference between a tree, a human or a stone.

We are all connected.

However, more than ever, our territories (and bodies) are being threatened. Not only with mining, but also with the daily advance of livestock, which unfolds in deforestation, land leases and land grabbing. Our lands are being stolen for cattle ranching and monocultures such as soy and corn.

Our biodiversity is being attacked by the voracious appetite for Brazilian meat.

We need to remember that our forest is losing all its vivacity to livestock, which encourages deforestation, fires and directly contributes to climate change through the emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

According to data from the National Institute for Space Research (INPE), in April 2022 alone, 1.012 square kilometers were lost, a number 74% greater than the previous record for the month. In addition, we perceive in livestock a form of treatment for animals that does not match our way of seeing them: it is an industry that mistreats them from birth to death.

It is necessary to understand the importance of us, indigenous peoples, for the protection of nature.

Our struggle is constant for the demarcation of our territories, which give us life, which are our roots, our own land, our fruits, our water and our seeds. In this struggle for demarcation, many of our people were and are being decimated. They decimate our bodies, bodies that are an extension of nature.

In 2022 we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the institutionalization of International Environment Day, whose theme this year is “One Earth”. On this date, I propose a reflection: are we really defending the environment? If our peoples, which are the forest itself, which are “bodies-territories” are being threatened and killed daily?

Are we really inhabiting one Earth? Or are we completely disconnected?

Our message is urgent: we, indigenous peoples, are the ones most affected by the effect of the decisions of great political leaders and businessmen. It is necessary that our territorial bodies occupy all decision-making spaces, so that we can really live on One Earth.

And I leave here a call for us to share the responsibility of this account: if everything we do is political, the way we eat is political too. We need to ask ourselves daily whether our personal choices are costing the lives of indigenous peoples, animals and the entire environment.

We are part of the problem and also part of the solution.”

About the author

Samela is a young communicator and activist in the fight for indigenous peoples. She is one of the spokespersons for the Sateré-Mawé people, as well as a biology student, artisan and content producer for various social networks.

She uses the internet as a resistance tool to defend her ancestral traditions and amplify the struggle for the rights of indigenous peoples.

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