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Indigenous Kaiowá in Brazil Pledge ‘Collective Death’ to Defend Ancestral Territory

November 2012

Leaders of the Guarani Kaiowá boldly announced that the entire community would rather die in their land defending from businesses and corporations. Their assertion is more than a war declaration. For us, the buyers of “clean energy,” their pronouncement is a jarring wake-up call that the “Green Economy” actually promotes genocide of indigenous people and Afro-descendent communities –whether in the form of a slow die off of disposed peoples or a quicker resistance.

The Indigenous Kaiowá-Guarani are the single largest indigenous group in Brazil. Like other indigenous groups, their territory has been invaded by large agribusinesses. Today, the Kaiowás occupy only one percent of their original territory. Their once expansive and biodiverse territory is now covered with poisonous monocrops of sugar cane grown to make ethanol that will feed cars elsewhere, while the Kaiowás children go hungry.

The premise that we need to consume more to live better is a myth. Mass consumption of natural resources – like the lands and forests home to the Kaiowás – has taken us to the edge of the climate cliff. Scientists warn that unrestrained global warming quite literally condemns to collective death.

The Kaiowas understand where the current path leads, and their pledge of collective death teaches us about the value of dignity. El buen vivir, or living well, comes from the indigenous wisdom that we need another type of economy and relationship with the material world. It points us in the direction of a life style based on the premise of a shared Earth and collectively values the rights of individuals and families to a dignified life. In the video “The Dark Side of Green” Kaiowás tell of their current plight and struggle against the invasion of monocrops in their ancestral land.

The Dark Side of Green from Midiateca Copyleft on Vimeo.

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