We are half way!
November 04, 2016
BENEFITING: Village Earth
EVENT DATE: Nov 07, 2016
Help create a new Kamaiura village!
Xingu Indigenous Park, Mato Grosso, BRAZIL
Have the Kamayura people continuously live on their ancestral land, preserving their culture, their nature and their way of life for generations to come.
The Kamaiurá village will split, and a few families, led by the Kamaiuráchief, will move to reduce the stress on the environment around the current Kamaiurá village and thus ensuring maintenance of livelihoods for all Kamaiurá people. This is an extreme measure - it is as if a country splits in two!
The Kamaiurá live in one village of about 300 people in Upper Xingu, in Xingu Indigenous Park (XIP), the largest indigenous park in the world. The area is of a unique beauty and richness in cultural and ecological diversity.
The Kamaiurá of the upper Xingú have been living relatively in harmony with their environment. Their main food is manioc and fish. Slash and burn cultivation is one of the subsistence strategies they have been practicing for hundreds of years to get their staple food, manioc. Fishing is also very important for them to complement their diet with protein. Today, changes in climate put a threat to their survival.
Extreme deforestation (intensive and large scale soy cultivation and cattle rearing) created drastic changes in the local climate of Xingu and these changes are already affecting all tribes inside the Park. The Kamaiura face the possibility of not being able to live off their land, as they have been doing for generations.
The raining season changed: rains come very late or do not come at all, affecting manioc crops, water levels (fish numbers decrease) and drying the forest (which create fierce wild fires). You can see these effects in a beautiful film by Instituto Socioambiental and Instituto Catitu, Where Did the Swallows Go: https://vimeo.com/180574512
In the past couple of years rains started 2-3 months late or did not come at all. River and lake waters levels stay low affecting the availability of fish, the main food for the XIP inhabitants. Cassava crops that the Kamaiura planted died three times this year (2016) in the Kamaiurá village, leaving the Kamaiurá people on the verge of famine, with little more than water to eat for days at a time.
Because of extreme dryness of the air and vegetation, wild fires burned out of control this year, engulfing swaths of forest and savannah, killing animals, destroying their habitat for years to come and reducing even more the chance of future rains. I witnessed this devastation in August 2016 when I visited the Kamaiurá village and Xingu.
All these factors put enormous stress on the environment. In this situation, the stressed waters, forest and soil cannot sustain the Kamaiurá village anymore.
The Kamaiurá solution
The chief of the Kamaiurá, Kotok, is very concerned about the future of his people and he decided to act: he will split his Kamaiurá village in two and open a new village where he and a few families will move. The new village will be still on Kamaiurá territory, where his ancestors used o live a few generations ago.
The proceeds of the fundraiser will help but tools that the Kamaiurá have asked for in order to speed up the process of building their village and ease the hard physical work they need to put. The village will have a few houses, all built according to traditional Kamaiurá architecture.
The chief of the Kamaiurá, Kotok, has been reaching out for help. Here is what he wrote in a letter to whoever is willing to help: