YANOMAMI

  • 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:

  1. Ninam,
  2. Sanumá,
  3. Waiká, and
  4. Yanomamö.

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

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