Along the border between Venezuela and Brazil in the Amazon rainforest are a group of about 20,000 people called the Yanomami. There somewhere between 200 - 250 villages comprised of these indigenous people who have not had contact with the outside world. But illegally operated gold mining is bringing disease and death to the Yanomami. According to Care2.com they lost 20% of their population in a 7- year period.
Here's part of an article from CARE2.COM:
"Many tribal people who are today ‘uncontacted’ are in fact the survivors (or survivors’ descendants) of past atrocities. These acts – massacres, disease epidemics, terrifying violence – are seared into their collective memory, and contact with the outside world is now to be avoided at all costs.
Many of the isolated Indians of western Amazonia, for example, are the descendants of the few survivors of the rubber boom which swept through the region at the end of the 19th Century, wiping out 90% of the Indian population in a horrific wave of enslavement and appalling brutality.
Others are survivors of more recent killings. The Amazonian people known as the ‘Cinta Larga’ [‘wide belts’] suffered many vicious and gruesome attacks at the hands of Brazilian rubber tappers between the 1920s and the 1960s. One famous incident, the 1963 ‘massacre of the 11th parallel’, took place in the headwaters of the Aripuanã river where the firm of Arruda, Junqueira & Co was collecting rubber.
The head of the company, Antonio Mascarenhas Junqueira, planned the massacre, deeming the Cinta Larga Indians to be in the way of his commercial activities.
“These Indians are parasites, they are shameful. It’s time to finish them off, it’s time to eliminate these pests. Let’s liquidate these vagabonds,” he said.
He hired a small plane, from which sticks of dynamite were hurled into a Cinta Larga village below. Later, some of the killers returned on foot to finish off the survivors – finding a woman breastfeeding her child, they shot the baby’s head off, and then hung her upside down and sliced her in half.
Last week the Guarani leader Nísio Gomes was assassinated in southern Brazil.
His last words to his son Valmir were:
“Don’t leave this place. Take care of this land with courage. This is our land. Nobody will drag you from it. Look after my granddaughters and all the children well. I leave this land in your hands.”
Ways you can help.
Read more at CARE2.COM
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