- Title: Indigenous tribes pray "peace, harmony and education" end Amazon fires
- Date: 2nd September 2019
- Summary: TRIBE MEMBERS WALKING BY IN CIRCLE BACKLIT AGAINST SUN SHANENAWA TRIBE CHIEF, TEKAHEYNE SHANENAWA, DANCING IN SLOW MOTION
- Embargoed: 16th September 2019 03:53
- Keywords: ritual Brazil Forest fires rainforest destruction jungle tribe environment indigenous wildfires Amazon
- Location: FEIJO, BRAZIL
- City: FEIJO, BRAZIL
- Country: Brazil
- Topics: Disaster/Accidents,Fires,Editors' Choice
- Reuters ID: LVA002AUYSX1J
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: As thousands of fires ravage the Amazon, the world's largest rainforest, some indigenous tribes are turning to prayer in a bid to halt the destruction and protect their environment for future generations.
In the village of Feijo, in the West of Brazil, approaching the border with Peru, indigenous people from the tribe of Shanenawa on Sunday performed a ritual to try to find peace between humans and nature. With faces painted, dozens danced in circles as they prayed to put an end to the fires.
"We want peace and love," said Shanenawa chief, Tekaheyne Shenanewa, as he danced in a circle as part of their ritual. "Peace, harmony and education to stop these fires that have attacked the Amazon."
Tens of thousands of forest fires have been recorded in the Amazon during this year's dry season, the most in at least a decade, at the same time as Brazil's new far-right president Jair Bolsonaro has argued that the forest needs to be exploited, and Indian reservations vastly reduced.
"If this continues the way it is with money causing the destruction of the Amazon, in 50 yearsâ€™ time we will no longer have the forest standing up," said Bainawa Inu Bake Huni Kuin, a Shanenawa spiritual leader.
Most of the Amazon is located in Brazil, but significant parts are also located in Colombia and Peru, where fires have also been detected. The Shanenawa number about 720 and inhabit around 23,000 hectares (57,000 acres) of land.
But the backlash has been particularly strong against the Bolsonaro administration, which has acknowledged it does not have the resources to put out the fires. Many of them are believed to have been set by cattle and soy farmers.
As a far-right Congressman and presidential candidate, Bolsonaro drew headlines for his disparaging comments regarding Indian tribes, and as president he has said that too much of the country's territory is unproductive because indigenous tribes have special rights.
"Our rituals are sacred, our rituals are to pray for planet earth so that we can always keep her healthy and safe," Bainawa said, "for mother water, for father sun, for mother forest and for mother earth, whom today feel very wounded."
(Production: Leonardo Benassatto)
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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