International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples

Davy Yanomami9 August is International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. Find out more about some of our partners and projects working to ensure indigenous peoples’ rights, culture and land are respected. This year, Pope Francis, in his encyclical Laudato Si’, specifically referred to the experiences of indigenous peoples and the dangers they are facing: “In this sense, it is essential to show special care for indigenous communities and their cultural traditions.”

Our indigenous partners, CIR and HAY, are working in the Brazilian Amazon to defend the rights of some of the most vulnerable indigenous communities being threatened by illegal gold mining, farming and governmental plans to build large hydro-electric dams in indigenous lands. In 2014, HAY achieved a landmark gain to defend the Yanomami and Ye’kuana indigenous peoples. Watch a video celebrating the moment of the departure of the last farmer to illegally occupy the Ajaraní Region, in Yanomami Indigenous Territory, in the Brazilian Amazon. The last farmer left the land in May 2014, 22 years after the region was recognised as part of Yanomami Indigenous Territory. This was as a result of consistent lobbying by our partner, the Hutukara Yanomami Association (HAY).

In the video, our partners Davi Yanomami, founder and President of HAY, and Mario Nicácio, Coordinator of the Indigenous Council of Roraima (CIR) explain what has led to this moment and what the future may hold.

Click here to watch the video >>

In September 2014, Davi and Mauricio Ye’kuana (President and Vice-President of HAY) visited CAFOD to raise awareness of threats faced by their people in the Brazilian Amazon. During this visit, CAFOD interviewed Davi on his thoughts on how we can work together for a better future: “Here [in the UK], people have understood. They are worried about the lungs of the planet. So they did something. The indigenous people did something, and the people from here did something.  We are fighting together to save the planet.

The partner of indigenous people is you: CAFOD, Survival International, Rainforest Foundation. You represent our indigenous people here in the city, in the capital. You can talk on TV, talk to other friends, to other politicians, other Governments. You can do demonstrations here in London where there is a Brazilian embassy.  You can raise awareness. It is very important that we have friends in the city who watch out for us.”

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