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Mapu Huni Kuin Addresses the IRI Dialogue with Indigenous Leaders

Mapu Huni Kuin addressed the assembly “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.

Haux. Haux. First of all, I want to thank the Great Spirit.

My name is Mapu, from the Huni Kuin people and we are a total of about 16,000 people spread over the State of Acre, Brazil. 

The Huni Kuin people have a strong connection with Nature, because we are born and raised in the middle of the forest. We, Indigenous Peoples, have a strong connection with the forest, the plants, the rivers, the earth, the birds, the animals, the air, the water, the sky, the sun, the moon, the stars, the wind. All of this is part of each of us.

So we consider ourselves to be the forest, and that is why our ancestry is connected to nature. That is why we are fighting for the preservation of nature and the forest, because we are fighting for the lives of all of us. 

Our story of Creation says that each person is born with a gift that is connected to the Great Spirit, the Creator, which some call God, Jesus, or other names. 

Today, the Huni Kuin people are very worried because many religious missionaries are entering our Indigenous lands that are not from our culture and are taking away the rights to our ways of life, with nature, in peace, with our families. But people are coming and terrorizing us saying our culture is not from God, that we won’t go to Heaven or be saved.

Saying that we can’t practice our traditional cultures, make our fire, sing, dance with our family and thank the Divine Mother, our Earth and the Creator. This is a great threat that we are facing. Since the first contact with non-Indigenous peoples our people were burned, our spiritual leaders were burned in fire saying that we were not doing God’s practice, and today we are still living through thus, and we evolved so much.

And me, as a spiritual leader, I respect all the religions and lineages because I know that Divine Creation is the work of a Creator that made everything and we are all part of it. So in this moment, we need to unite and never permit again this type of invasion and attitude that attacks the sacred knowledge of our peoples. 

We always lived in peace, and we don’t want war. We are not better than anyone, and we have peace in our hearts as we fight for everyone, because everyone on this planet is in the same boat.

We are just passing through here, and we should not judge each other. We came here to take care of Divine Creation, respecting our neighbor, respecting the paths and knowledge that exists on Earth.

And we are facing great threats from wood logging industries in our territories, as well as the “Temporal Framework” that is being voted into law, so they can invade our lands. So woodloggers, miners, oil extractors can enter our lands, destroying river sources, nature, the forests and leave us without oxygen, taking away our future and those of coming generations destroying everything, and in time we will no longer be able to live.

So I am asking from the heart your comprehension, your understanding, this alliance of respect and consideration that all of our brothers and sisters. We are all from one family, wherever we are in the world, we are all brothers and sisters and we need to respect each other. 

So I invite each of you, from the heart, that we can act together and have more respect for the Indigenous Peoples. 

Haux. Haux.

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