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“Where are the Yanomami”: the farce of the disappearance of a village and the death of a child

In early May, the story of the supposed disappearance of a village with 80 Yanomami indigenous people, after they denounced that an indigenous woman from 12 years would have died after being raped by prospectors. The prospectors also allegedly kidnapped a three-year-old child, who in some versions of the story would have drowned after falling off a boat

The complaint was made in April (24), by Júnior Hekurari, president of the Yanomami and Ye’kwana Indigenous Health District Council (Condisi-YY) . This ‘disappearance’ was the necessary hook for an intense campaign on social networks, by artists and personalities who joined the cause and echoed the hashtag “Where are the Yanomami?”.

In one of the publications singer Anitta took the opportunity to remember the deadline for the regularization of voter registrations for voting in the next elections, part of a campaign that featured Hollywood artists and was supported by international organizations. “In the coming years I want a government that cares about our nature”, he wrote.

In reaction to this, the Attorney General of the Republic, Augusto Aras, declared that the clarification of the case was a priority and that the perpetrators would not go unpunished. During a session of the Federal Supreme Court (STF), Minister Cármen Lúcia called the rape of the Yanomami girl “a perversity that cannot remain as statistical data, as normal facts of life”, and demanded investigations into the case. The president of the STF, Minister Luiz Fux, classified the case as extremely serious.

Days later, between 24 and 28 of April, a A delegation made up of the Federal Police (PF), the Federal Public Ministry (MPF), and the National Indian Foundation (Funai), with the presence of an interpreter, was in the community to investigate. However, upon analysis, they found no evidence that the crimes had taken place. In an interview with Jovem Pan News, on in May, the president of Funai, Marcelo Xavier, questioned the fact that rumors like this are spread, especially in an election year.

Even after the “reappearance” of the indigenous people, days later, some in the company of miners, Hekurari maintained the narrative and added that he is receiving threats from miners. The complaint was corroborated by the Hutukara Associação Ianomâmi, which states that this rape is not an isolated case and that the Yanomami Land suffers its worst offensive from miners in 30 years.

Gazeta do Povo talked to locals and indigenous people Yanomamis, and exclusively obtained videos with the leader of the Aracaçá village, Tuxáua Morô, who reveals that the fire in the village was not carried out by the miners, but by the indigenous people themselves, in a traditional funeral ritual unrelated to the complaints.

Indigenous people from Aracaçá deny the accusations

The Aracaçá community is located inside the Yanomami Indigenous Land, in a place of difficult access, close to the border with Venezuela. From Boa Vista, to the Waikás region, it takes about 1h of flight. To get to Aracaçá it takes more 28 minutes by helicopter, or five hours by boat on the Uraricoera River.

In a video recorded in the community, by an unidentified evangelical missionary, days after the “disappearance” of the Aracaçá community, Tuxáua Morô, the leader of the community, and the other indigenous people of the village appear. They are asked if they were attacked by miners and they say no. Another missionary who was in the village, known in Manaus as Evangelista Hilton, says that the indigenous people all the time claimed that Hekurari’s accusations were a lie.

On May 8, Tuxáua Morô and his wife Cláudia were in Boa Vista at the invitation of members of the Movimento Garimpo Legal, to clarify the facts to the local press. In a video recorded by Jailson Mesquita, a member of the movement, Morô says that Júnior Hekurari’s accusation that an indigenous girl from 12 years had been raped and killed during an attack by garimpeiros on the Aracaçá village, and that, subsequently, a three-year-old girl would have disappeared when she fell from a boat when the raped girl’s aunt tried to save her.

As for the fire in the village, Morô explains that it was caused by his wife as a result of his son’s suicide. “She was angry, so she lit a lighter”, he says. For this reason, the community moved to another location nearby.

According to anthropologist Diogo Oliveira, a doctoral student in social anthropology at the Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, and researcher on indigenous suicide, several ethnic groups have the habit of burning houses, breaking up villages and moving from places where deaths occur, especially when it comes to traumatic situations, which also happens according to each culture.

“Indigenous people have particular cultural logics in relation to suicide, associated with their specific worldviews, such as notion of spirituality and religion, not always being seen as something negative”, he says.

According to him, in some circumstances, the disruption of society can increase the number of self-harm deaths, such as in cases of abusive use of alcoholic beverages, loss of land , family and intergenerational conflicts, mainly affecting young people and adolescents.

Jailson Mesquita states that the complaint to the MPF was carried out by personnel linked to the mining, so that everything could be clarified, and not by Junior Hekurari, who only commented on the case on social networks.

“We were the ones who reported the case to the MP, asking for an immediate investigation. Hekurari only commented on social media. And we also went to the community and found the disappeared indigenous people. Detail: how were they missing if we found them? There, none of them knew about a case of rape of a girl or a child thrown into a river”, he says.

Mesquita says that it is not the first time that they use lies to discredit the mining. He says that Hekurari was also the author of the complaint, made in 2021, that two Yanomami boys, aged four and seven, drowned after being sucked into a dredge of miners. After investigations, it was also not found that the miners’ dredge caused the children’s death.

“In the end, the PF concluded that the children’s death was due to drowning, and not because of the dredge. Technically it is impossible for a dredger to suck a child because the end of the hose is about 35 cm. How do you suck a child high above the river? It’s underestimating the intelligence of others!”, he says.

For Mesquita, the accusation that garimpeiros are attacking the Yanomami makes no sense, “because what garimpeiros want most is to have a peaceful coexistence between them”. He explains that most garimpeiros have low schooling and if they are looking for an honest profession outside the mine, the salary will probably be low. Therefore, the relationship between miners and indigenous people would be mutual help.

“The PF, Funai and the MPF went to the village and said that there is no evidence that it happened. I don’t believe they would lie to make an apology for mining”, says Mesquita.

Accusations of self-promotion and opportunism

Even with the authorities’ declaration that no evidence of rape or kidnapping was found in the village, Hekurari maintained the accusations and added that the indigenous people would have been bribed and coerced by the miners with gold bars in exchange for silence.

A Yanomami indigenous, who asked not to be identified because he received threats, says that Hekurari tells these stories opportunistically, to promote himself. This indigenous man spoke with his Yanomami “relatives” from Aracaçá, shortly after the first allegations were made public, and they confirmed that Hekurari’s accusations are not valid.

“They said: there are miners here , Yes. But the miners work in their corner and we work in our locality”, he says.

Garimpeiros promise to sue Hekurari

In response to the allegations made by Junior Hekurari, miners from the Movimento Garimpo é Legal, who deny the accusations, say they intend to sue him for slander after the end of the investigations.

On Thursday the week before last (day ), the group organized a demonstration in front of the Legislative Assembly of Roraima, which at that time received a delegation of parliamentarians, led by Senator Humberto Costa (PT-PE), president of the Human Rights Commission of the Senate, who went to the state to investigate the accusations made by the indigenous people.

The general coordinator of Movimento Garimpo é Legal, Rodrigo Martins de Mello, known as Rodrigo Cataratas, was on the day 27 of April in the MPF to request that Junior Hekurari’s accusations of that miners coerced the indigenous people of the Aracaçá community with 5 grams of gold to deny what had happened in the village.

“I learned that I would be persecuting and threatening the indigenous Junior Hekurari . This citizen is the one who falsely denounced the death of an indigenous child and now claims that he is being threatened by miners.”

“Junior Hekurari doesn’t know me, as he claims. In the same way, I don’t know him, but I realize that this guy has tried as hard as other people to put me as the executioner of his denunciations”, he says.

Farsas Yanomami

For anthropologist, consultant and intermediary of ethnic conflicts Edward Luz, the appearance of these complaints against miners, just under a month after the celebrations of 29 years since the creation of the Yanomami Indigenous Land —- largest ethnic territory in the world, with an area equivalent to three Belgiums, and a population of only about 35 one thousand indigenous people — not a coincidence, given the current proposals to legalize mining on indigenous lands voted on

According to Luz, the indigenist socio-environmental apparatus learned to use this strategy efficiently: “Whenever a bill or a proposal does not interest the movement, events like this arise, falling against the Brazilian State to accusation of inefficiency and inefficiency”

“The recurring accusations of invasion and garimpeiro violence against Yanomami is the most complete proof of the inefficiency of a model of interaction of interethnic relations, permeated by the state, which seems It was built to fail. This model was created to be chaos and Yanomami relations only work with the NGO apparatus”, he says.

For Luz, there is an evident imbalance between the nature of the news that there was the rape of an indigenous girl, with the subsequent clarification of the facts. He explains that even before the results of the investigations were published, the press was already raising parallels about other cases of violence among the Yanomami, such as the Haximu Massacre.

Haximu was an alleged massacre of Yanomami people. by prospectors, occurred in 1969, in the state of Roraima. It was the first and only crime judged in Brazil as genocide and to this day it has implications. On Thursday (5), the PF arrested in Roraima the garimpeiro Eliézio Monteiro Neri, a fugitive from justice, convicted of participating in the massacre.

The story of Haximu was intensely criticized by journalist Janer Cristaldo (1969-2014), who spent years analyzing the case and said believe that this was the biggest bluff ever recorded in the national and international press until then, causing irreparable damage to Brazil’s image abroad. For him, journalists were more concerned with commas and accents, whether the term had a circumflex accent or not, than with facts and evidence.

In his book “Ianoblufe”, Cristaldo he presents the various indications that such genocide never happened: as an inconsistent death toll. started with 15 m orthos, after 40, after 1969 , after 90, after 2021 , and finally 16 — with a bone found at the scene, with an unknown date of death, the only proof that someone died. Furthermore, not even in Brazil the event would have happened.

He recalls the case of the alleged Yanomami massacre that took place in Venezuela, in September of 2012, denounced by Survival International, the world’s leading indigenist organization. At the time, after being clarified that 80 indigenous people were not murdered and their village burned, Survival went public to inform that their role it is not questioning the indigenous organizations that passed on the information, but disseminating it internationally. The argument “Indians don’t lie”, says Luz, was the same one used in the Haximu case.

A Mafia Verde

According to writer Lorenzo Carrasco, journalist, former correspondent for the Executive Intelligence Review (EIR) and currently editor of the magazine Solidariedade Ibero-Americana and author of the book “Máfia Verde”, the Yanomami reservation is the creation of the English oligarchy, which in 1969 created Survival International, with the main objective of its campaigns being the creation of the “Ianomâmi Park”. According to Carrasco, the reason for this interest in the region is the immense mineral wealth that exists there.

Another important organization in this process was the Rainforest of Norway, responsible for funding several smaller NGOs in Brazil, in a strategy of nationalization of the pro-Yanomâmi discourse. The interest is so great that the King of Norway, Harald V, personally visited Terra Yanomami, in 2013, where he was received by Yanomami leader Davi Kopenawa. Rainforest is one of the financiers of Hukutara, an institution chaired by Kopenawa.

For decades, Survival pressured Brazilian authorities, funding campaigns, until in 15 of November 1991 , former President Fernando Collor de Melo gave in to pressure and satisfied the pressures of the House of Windsor. He signed the decree granting approximately six thousand Yanomami an area of ​​90 thousand square kilometers, equivalent to twice the state of Rio de Janeiro. January.

According to Luz, even the term “Yanomâmi” was invented by foreign anthropologists — such as the American Napoleon Chagnon, the Englishman Robin Hanbury-Tenison and the Italian Ernesto Migliazza — and did not exist among indigenous people until the mid-1990s 73. There, he says, there were several tribes with different ethnic denominations that lived, and still live, in intense tribal wars.

He cites the book “A farsa Yanomami”, by the army colonel and ex-Secretary of Security of Roraima Carlos Alberto Lima Menna Barreto, who argues that the term has never been encountered by explorers and scholars who have already been to the region.

“In Brazil, an enormous economy of the We are one of the only countries in the world where there is a sector that lives exclusively by caring for the Indian. In this model, created for chaos and Yanomami relations only work with the NGO apparatus, there is no possibility of talking Whenever the speech of autonomy is sustained, it is said that they will buy the Indians”, he says.

What those involved say

Junior Hekurari states that he received complaints from indigenous people who were in the city and received information from indigenous people in the village. responsible through a letter and requested an investigation.

“This possible rape is not an isolated case, as we are aware that several children scattered throughout the territory are sons and daughters of miners who entice the young people”, he says.

Hekurari states that there was no possibility of removing the girl’s body — supposedly raped and dead — to the IML, because, according to custom and traditions, the Yanomami burn the bodies. Thus, if there was this death, the body was certainly burned in the ritual.

Regarding the case of indigenous children killed by a dredge by miners, Herukurari says that he received information from indigenous people and requested the support from the fire department for rescue and the MPF for investigation.

“The responsible associations started the denouncements and the deputy Joenia took to the congress. However, according to the PF that flew over the site, the children were not sucked into the dredger. But how can you be sure that there was no expertise? So it’s an open question for us Yanomami, even if the process has already been shelved”, he says.

The MPF informed that it does not comment on ongoing procedures, doing so only at the end of the preparatory work, at which time it presents the appropriate measures in the specific case.

In a press conference held on the day of May, the PF informed that, even though it is proven that the complaints do not match the concrete and real facts, the investigations will continue in progress.

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