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Story Publication logo June 26, 2020

Forest Communities' Fight for Survival (Portuguese)

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Image by Thiago Mendonça/Valor. Brazil, 2020.
Image by Thiago Mendonça/Valor. Brazil, 2020.

There has never really been peace for the people of the forest. But the calamity of the present is truly frightening. The dangers are not only the white man and his fires, land invasions, and death. COVID-19 has reached the forest with no interference or response from the government. Left to their own devices, Indigenous peoples are organizing themselves. They are facing a fight for their lives.

"It's a deadly emergency. We need to get out of this, first. If you want to organize yourself, you need to organize yourself to have food security after that. Because it seems that in all wars, the enemy leaves you without food, without water — and that's it. It isolates and kills you, doesn't it?" explains Ailton Krenak, an Indigenous leader who has had great prominence in the last four decades.

To read the full story in Portuguese, click here.

Nunca houve paz para os povos da floresta. Masa calamidade do presente assusta. Os perigos não são só o homem branco e suas queimadas, invasões territoriais e mortes. A ameaça da covid-19 chegou à floresta sem nenhum bloqueio ou resposta governamental. Abandonados à própria sorte, os indígenas se organizam. A luta agora é para se manter vivo.

"É uma emergência mortal. A gente precisa primeiro sair dessa. Se por fara se organizar, é se organizar para depois disso ter segurança alimentar. Porque parece que, em todas as guerras o inimigo deixa você sem comida, sem água -- e pronto. Te isola e te mata, não é assim?", diz Ailton Krenak, uma das mais destacadas lideranças indígenas das últimas quatro décadas.