At Rio’s Carnival parades, Yanomami activists struggle ‘genocide’ with samba | Indigenous Rights News


Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – Yellow and eco-friendly feathers radiating from his headdress, Davi Kopenawa strode onto the parade route with a mission in thoughts.

All all-around him, the town of Rio de Janeiro was pulsing with audio and merry-producing: It was February 12, and the world’s greatest Carnival celebration was less than way. But Kopenawa was not in city to celebration.

Somewhat, he had travelled a lot more than 3,500 kilometres (2,000 miles) from his village in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest to unfold a dire concept: His individuals, the Yanomami, were in trouble.

For decades, the Indigenous Yanomami have experienced at the arms of unlawful gold miners, who destroyed wide stretches of their homeland and polluted their rivers with mercury.

But considering the fact that 2019, the disaster has reached new heights, with hundreds of Yanomami dying from conditions linked to the mining. President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has absent so much as to declare the situation a “genocide”.

“Every working day, we encounter dying in our villages and attacks from unlawful miners,” Kopenawa, a shaman, advised Al Jazeera.

Davi Kopenawa poses for a photo with parade participants at Rio de Janeiro's Sambadrome. He wears a radiating feather headdress, red shorts and a beaded necklace.
Davi Kopenawa, centre, poses with parade participants in Rio de Janeiro [Monica Yanakiew/Al Jazeera]

So this yr, Kopenawa and other Indigenous leaders took an unconventional stage. They teamed up with Salgueiro, a person of Rio’s celebrated samba educational facilities, to phase an consciousness marketing campaign, correct in the center of the once-a-year Carnival festivities.

The outcome was unveiled in the early several hours of Monday at Sambadrome, a single of the leading destinations for Carnival parades.

Floats devoted to the “people of the forest” sailed down the Sambadrome’s wide parade avenue, surrounded by stands packed with hundreds of spectators.

Some of the floats showcased more substantial-than-lifestyle depictions of Indigenous peoples, arms outstretched as if to soar above the pavement. 1 float, on the other hand, represented the loss of life and destruction wrought by the miners, with feathered headdresses crowning skulls.



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