A young girl writes to her MEPs about the Yanomami people who live in the Amazon rainforests
In March, Nick received a letter from a young girl aged 6 (with a little help from her mum), who is concerned about the Yanomami people living in the Amazonian rain forests in South America.
Below is her letter:
We are writing to tell you all about the Yanomami people who live in the Amazon rainforests in South America.
A Yanomami house is called a yanos or shabonos. Up to 400 people may live in it. Each family has its own fire to cook food and at night they sleep in hammocks.
Men hunt and give all the meat they catch to their friends. Women tend the garden and collect nuts and honey. Men, women and children fish together, pounding a vine and poisoning the fish in a pool. Yanomami Indians have festivals for things like the harvest and funerals.
Goldminers work illegally in Yanomami lands. They pollute the water and give the Yanomami people deadly diseases they cannot fight. The Yanomami people do not have medicines to treat these diseases. Cattle ranchers burn down the trees. This land is only useful to farm for two or three years but then the soil is too damaged for the rainforest to grow back.
We want to help the Yanomami people. They do not want mining on their lands. It will not bring anything good for the Indians. It will only bring many problems, diseases and bad people who kill Indians.
Their land must be respected. Their land belongs to them so they can hunt, plant and be healthy. The Yanomami Indians have asked for our help to tell the world of their problems. They have asked everyone who can to help them tell the world not to let the Brazilian government make gold mining legal on their lands. We have watched a video about this. You can also watch it-
If you would like to read more about the Yamomami people, we found lots of information on this website-
It is very important that we all work together to save the rainforest and the people who live there. We all need the rainforest to keep our planet healthy.
Thank You for reading this letter. We hope you can help by talking to everyone you know about the Yanomami Indians and writing letters too.
Nick’s Constituency Outreach Officer responded to this little girl on Nick’s behalf:
Thank you for your email regarding the plight of the Yanomami people of South America. Mr Griffin has asked me to reply to you on his behalf.
He shares your concerns about the impact of legal and illegal gold mining on the lives of the Yanomami people. Left unchallenged and unregulated, mining and industrial development will devastate the rainforests of Brazil through land clearing and road construction. The water, air and land pollution that is associated with mining will also have a deeply harmful impact on the local environment.
It is imperative that the Brazilian Government acts decisively to protect its indigenous people and its natural environment. The creation of the Yanomami Park by the Government in 1992 has significantly improved conditions for the Yanomami people but they do, as you point out, still face very grave dangers from illegal goldminers operating close to their territory and also from foreign mining companies.
It is a positive sign that the Brazilian Government has committed 800 people from its army and police force to a mission to remove the illegal goldminers and there are reports of successful evictions.
With respect to legal mining developments, there is some protective legislation in place that helps to protect the rights of indigenous communities threatened by mining and other destructive developments, such as Convention 169, adopted by the International Labour Organisation - a specialised agency of the UN. The European Union is also considering strengthening its existing legislation to ensure that indigenous communities benefit from their own natural resources.
As a Member of the European Parliament (MEP), Nick Griffin has supported a number of initiatives aimed at protecting indigenous peoples against the detrimental effects of industrial and commercial developments. The majority of projects are spearheaded by multinational companies with little understanding of, or respect, for the lands and people from which they seek to extract a profit.
In general, he has called for the welfare of indigenous peoples to be respected wherever industrial or commercial developments are located. In Mr Griffin's view, it is abhorrent that multinational corporations are permitted to profit from natural resource extraction projects at the expense of the host nation.
More specifically, he has argued that account must be taken of the impact of tar sands extraction on the indigenous Beaver Lake Cree people who live in the region where 30% of Canada's tar sands developments currently operate. The large-scale deforestation, wildlife disturbance and pollution resulting from tar sands extraction poses an unacceptable threat to their traditional way of life. He has also defended the interests of the indigenous people of Western Sahara, speaking out against the European Union-sanctioned plunder of Western Sahara's fish stocks.
Mr Griffin believes that indigenous peoples have a right to self-determination over their own territories and natural resources. Please be assured that he will continue to use his status as an MEP to preserve and protect the rights and interests of vulnerable peoples, such as the Yanomami.