Brazilian Rancher Threatens Yanomami Shaman with Death

Davi Yanomami with Indian kid by Fiona Watson/Survival A Brazilian rancher who is illegally occupying land within the Yanomami indigenous territory in Brazil has threatened to kill renowned Yanomami leader Davi Kopenawa. In 2004, a Brazilian court ordered a group of ranchers, including the one who made the threat, to leave the land.

The land in question being illegally occupied is located in the Ajarani area of the Yanomami territory in Roraima state, in northern Brazil. The rancher has said he will kill Davi if he is forced to leave.

Just last October, Davi visited the UK and Germany with his son Dário to launch London-based tribal people supporters Survival International's report on tribal peoples' health and to ask British prime minister Gordon Brown and German chancellor Angela Merkel to sign up to the key international law on tribal and indigenous peoples.

His European trip happened as the issue of rainforest destruction and its link to global warming is firmly back in the headlines. He learned of the death threat shortly after his return to Brazil.

Davi is due to attend a meeting of Yanomami in Ajarani next week, and has asked the police for protection. In a phone call with Survival he said. "The ranchers have invaded our land and we are fighting to get them out. The rancher who threatened me is fighting for money, but I am fighting for my people. I saw what happened to my friend Chico Mendes who was murdered. I do not want this to happen to me."

Davi Kopenawa is a shaman and winner of the UN Global 500 award. He was a key figure in the campaign that resulted in the demarcation of the Yanomami's land in 1992.

He has been telling the outside world not only of the problems faced by the Yanomami and other tribes, but also how easily they can be solved.

In a prophetic warning four years ago, Davi said, "We shamans are telling you the whites to change your ways so that the world doesn't get too hot. If you don't do this our world will become dry, there will be no water, and we will have dry mouths because the Earth will heat up."

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