Brazil: Prospectors Murder 2 Yanomamis over Land

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Brazil: Prospectors Murder 2 Yanomamis over Land
By: Valéria Oiveira, G1 RR (
26 June 2020

Prospectors murder young indigenous people while invading Yanomami Land in Roraima

Original Yanomami, 24, and Marcos Arokona, 20, died, according to the District Yanomami and Ye`kuana Indigenous Health Council (Condisi-Y). Conflict was in an area of closed forest in the region of the Parima River, in Alto Alegre.

BOA VISTA— A conflict in the Yanomami Land resulted in the death of two young indigenous men, aged 20 and 24, in Roraima. The victims were attacked by gunshots in the middle of the forest by armed miners, the District Council for Indigenous Health Yanomami and Ye`kuana (Condisi-Y) said on Friday (26).

The young people were named Original Yanomami, 24, and Marcos Arokona, 20. The conflict took place on the last 12, in the community Maloca do Macuxi, region of the Parima River, municipality of Alto Alegre, according to the president of Condisi-Y, Júnior Hekuari Yanomami.

The victims were in a group of five indigenous people when they came across the two prospectors near a clandestine helicopter landing strip.

“The miners, when they saw them, shot and hit one. The group ran in the middle of the forest, there was a chase, and the other indigenous person was also hit,” said Júnior Yanomami.

The indigenous people reported that the chase lasted for about an hour. They were armed with arrows, but failed to reach the miners. The attack was around 15h.

Condisi-Y was informed of the conflict on Tuesday (23), after contact via radio. The Council, accompanied by teams from the National Indian Foundation (FUNAI) and the Federal Police (PF), went to the region on Wednesday to investigate the case and returned on Friday.

“We went with FUNAI and the PF in the region where the bodies were. We only managed to get to where one of them was. It is a place that is difficult to access and we needed to go back, if it wasn`t going to get dark,” said Júnior, adding that, to reach where the body was, it was necessary to walk 2h30 on foot in the forest.

The bodies of Original Yanomami and Marcos Arokona are still in the middle of the forest, where they will remain following the funeral traditions of the Yanomami people.

“The bodies will stay in the place for about 40 days. Then, they will be burned and the ashes will be taken to the community where they lived, where they will go through a mourning ritual.”

“The community where they lived is scared. They are in mourning, camped in the middle of the forest,” said Júnior Yanomami.

In a note, FUNAI said that it is aware of the complaint and said that it “continues to follow the case.” Despite asking, the PF did not comment on the conflict until the last update of the report.

Upon receiving the complaint of the conflict, Condisi-Y communicated, via letter, the Federal Public Ministry in Roraima (MPF-RR). The agency`s staff confirmed that it had received the information and said it is awaiting official positioning by FUNAI and the army. The army, however, told G1 it had no information on the case.

“On behalf of the Yanomami people, I ask for support from the federal government to carry out operations to seek out gold prospectors in the Yanomami Land and to punish those responsible. It is very sad to see fathers and mothers crying. They are asking for help, support, help. Garimpeiros are taking over the Yanomami Indigenous Land,” stressed the president of Condisi-Y.

Remote Region

Maloca do Macuxi is located in the middle of the Amazon Rainforest, in a region of closed area, where access is only possible by plane or helicopter. The community was created about seven months ago and, according to Júnior, 80 indigenous people live in the locality.

To arrive in the region, the Condisi-Y, PF and FUNAI teams left Boa Vista on a plane to the Surucu region, then took a helicopter.

“Until Surucu it was about 1h30. Then, until the community it was 25 minutes by helicopter. To get to where the conflict occurred, they were walking in the forest for about 2h30,” he said.

The largest indigenous reserve in Brazil, Terra Yanomami covers almost 10 million hectares between the states of Roraima and Amazonas. About 27,000 indigenous people live in the region, the target of prospectors who invade the land to pursue illegal gold mining.

The territory also contains the confirmed reference of an isolated indigenous people, in addition to six others reported in a study, according to FUNAI.

Original article

Translation from Portuguese: HLRN

Photo: Conflict was in the community called Maloca do Macuxi, in Terra Yanomani. Source: Júnior Hekuari Yanomami/Condisi-Y.

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