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Chief Raoni Metuktire Addresses the IRI Dialogue with Indigenous Leaders

Chief Raoni Metuktire addressed “An Urgent Call to Protect the Amazon: An Interfaith Rainforest Initiative Dialogue with Indigenous Leaders” at the 2023 Parliament of the World’s Religions in Chicago, USA.

I am here, together with you, on this encounter. I see that all here believe in a Creator, we all believe. I am happy to participate in, this encounter, where the people that come together believe in God, who is the Creator of life. 

But in this encounter, we also have to talk about something very important, which is the preservation of the Earth, of nature and of the waters. Because all of this is very important for our lives. 

I would like to talk to you now. Let us have respect for one another. All peoples need respect among one another. 

We (Indigenous) need you (non-Indigenous) to respect us, and we need to respect you as well for us to live in peace. That is what I want to say to you all. We need to come together. 

We need to gith against the destruction of nature, which affects not only my country, Brazil, but the entire world especially in the Amazon region, which is the place where we live, an area I can call the heart of the world. 

It is the land where my ancestors lived and we live up to this day. We need to take care of nature and the forest. People need to support the Indigenous cause, we need to come together to continue taking care of the forest. The forest offers us pure air, and we need to guarantee that for our grandchildren.

We Indigenous peoples have a traditional way of life, of living on our land, that is different from the non-Indigenous. It is from the river that we catch the fish that serve as our food. It is from the forest that we hunt the animals and harvest the fruits that serve to sustain our families. 

For us, the forest needs to be protected because she takes care not only of the animals, but also of the Earth, the trees, and all of us. The land also needs trees to survive, so we protect the land and the forest, so we can sustain our way of living on our land. 

But, the way that humans are cutting down the forests – the mining, the logging, all of this is very dangerous. Because the planet can also revolt against all of us one day. It is warming up and this will bring serious environmental consequences to all mankind. 

So, because of this we do not accept nor agree with the invasions, occupations, and destruction of our lands.

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