17/12/2019

Acceptance speech – Davi Kopenawa

This award is a new weapon to strengthen the fight of our people.

Here is my message to you:

On behalf of all Yanomami I accept this prize from the Right Livelihood Foundation. I was awarded this because I am a defender of the forest.

I receive this award in the year 2019. You, people from other countries, do not know the current reality of the Yanomami people.

We need support to make sure that our native languages and our traditional knowledge will not disappear.

That is why we, the Yanomami people, are here sharing with you the issues we are facing. The Brazilian government is threatening our territories.

Gold miners are invading and destroying our land. They are contaminating our rivers and killing our fish with their mercury.

We are dying, falling ill with diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis, river blindness, cancer, flu, measles and sexually transmitted diseases.

We, the Yanomami Ye’kwana people, would like your help in order to put pressure on the government of Brazil to banish the gold miners from our land, urgently.

I am a traditional leader of the Yanomami. I want to help my indigenous brothers by asking you, international authorities, to put pressure on the Brazilian Government to demarcate the land of other indigenous peoples.

Nowadays, young people recognise the mistakes their parents made. The mistakes made by their governments.

They were able to see all the deforestation, destruction and pollution. Young people are united to be able to defend nature, Mother Earth.

We want to live in a healthy forest, in harmony with nature. Young people are building new ways, good ways so that we can live well and be at peace with the forest, the animals, the rains, so that we can have clean waters to drink and to bathe in, with no pollution.

So that we can raise our children and our grandchildren, teaching them how to take care of the Earth and not destroy it.

That is what the youth is now fighting for.

Non-indigenous peoples have recognised once again the name of the Yanomami Ye’kwana people.

I have always fought for the rights of my people Yanomami Ye’kwana.

Therefore, I am very happy and honoured. This award is a new weapon to strengthen the fight of our people.

Thank you.