By Almir Narayamoga Suruí, Chief of the Suruí Indigenous People of Rondônia in Brazil.
Cacoal, August 11, 2005
“Our planet is endangered by the lack of respect towards the Forest and the beings which live there. This threat is very real: to see it, one just has to observe the pollution of rivers, the transformation of all forest into agricultural and pastor land, and the loss of the memory of their immense value for life.
We, the members of the Gamebey Clan of the Suruí People of Rondônia in Brazil, We worry about the threats towards biovariety, for we know that we are part of the Forest, of which all elements are usefull to our lifes.
So, by their chants, the birds give us messages, of good or bad omen. Animals warn us about dangers and make our lives more secure and healthy, in harmony with nature. The sound of water in the rivers alerts us about sudden floods and tells us about the life of fish, announcing times of abundance and times of shortage. The moon and the stars show us the way to follow and warn us about misfortunes which could fall down on our villages.
When men cut and burn down the Forest, it is the sun, with its colours, which tells us about it, alerting us about the danger for animals and humans alike:
When the sun turns red, what many find beautiful, we know that in reality trees and beasts are dying. The tones of the sky and the rainbow colours tell us what the weather will be like.
We know that the Spirits of the Forest who protect the animals are sad from this disrespectful destruction of Mother Earth. This is why we reaffirm that for the Gamebey Clan of the Surui People, the Forest is very precious, it is part of us. No one has the right to transform the whole Forest into pastures and the sky into ashes!
The Forest, by its diversity of fruits and animals, is the condition of our durable subsistance and of our survival. The Forest is the Light of life for Humankind, and the Surui People respect Life. We witness that this Light is threatened by improvidence of men who are forgetting future generations.
So, just as the Surui need the Forest in order to survive as a People, so can the whole of humanity not live without it. If one does not change the exploitation of the Forest and stop destroying it, the whole planet will disappear. We have learned from our Ancestors that Mother Earth gave us life, health, and the values of our culture.
We ask that our land and our history are respected.”