- Brazilian government has promised to speed up the expulsion of illegal miners in the country’s largest indigenous territory, Yanomami.
- Yanomami region stretches across Roraima and Amazonas states in the northwest corner of Brazil’s Amazon.
- It has been a subject of interest for illegal gold miners for decades.
- 20 per cent of the Yanomami community died due to violence, the spread of diseases and damage to the environment.
- The Yanomami are a group of 35,000 indigenous people who live in some 200–250 villages in the Amazon rainforest on the border between Venezuela and Brazil.
- The Yanomami do not recognize themselves as a united group, but rather as individuals associated with their politically autonomous villages.
Yanomaman languages comprise four main varieties:
- Waiká, and
Impact of illegal mining in Yanomami territory
- The number of malaria cases rose by 1,090 per cent in Indigenous areas and 75,576 per cent in mining areas.
- Historically, the indigenous people of Yanomami have relied on the forest, birds and animals to feed themselves.
- But illegal gold mining has destroyed vast patches of the forest, leading to a scarcity of food.
- Miners in the region search for gold by mixing liquid mercury into excavated sediment of the Amazon’s rivers, which has polluted Yanomami areas traditionally used for hunting, fishing and gathering.
- This has also contributed to the increase in cases of malnutrition among children.
SOURCE: THE HINDU, THE ECONOMIC TIMES, PIB