The Yanomami People

The ‘Dalai Lama of the Rainforest’ Davi Kopenawa of the Yanomami tribe called for world support to bring pressure on the Brazilian government to save the Amazonian forests.

The Yanomami People

The Yanomami tribe is a group of indigenous people who live in an area spanning the border region between Venezuela and Brazil. They live in some 200 to 250 villages in the Amazon Rainforest. They are foraging horticulturists who depend on shifting cultivation, gathering of fruits, banana cultivation, hunting, etc., for their livelihood.

Davi Kopenawa

Davi Kopenawa Yanomami is known as the ‘Dalai Lama of the Rainforest’. He was the recipient of Right to Livelihood Award last year in Stockholm in Sweden (also called the Alternative Nobel Prize). He is noted for leading the 20 year campaign of the Yanomami people to protect their traditional lands which is the largest rainforest area under indigenous control in the world.

Gold Mining

The discovery of gold in the Yanomami territories in 1970s led to an influx of gold miners. The Yanomami culture and way of life was endangered by the accompanying violence, alcoholism and disease like measles. The small time miners were called garimpeiros. They were known for killing the indigenous people and also using environmentally deleterious methods for mining.


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