Film footage marks 20-year anniversary of ‘Yanomami Park’

May 25, 2012

Yanomami woman. The Yanomami territory has allowed uncontacted Indians to survive. © Fiona Watson/Survival

This page was created in 2012 and may contain language which is now outdated.

Yanomami Indians in Brazil have released aerial film footage of an uncontacted Indian community, to mark the 20th anniversary of the creation of the ‘Yanomami Park’.

This Yanomami area straddling the Brazil-Venezuela border is the largest forested Indigenous territory in the world, thanks to which uncontacted groups – including the one in the footage – have managed to survive.

The scenes were captured during an overflight carried out by Brazil’s Indian Affairs Department, FUNAI, and the Yanomami organization Hutukara.

Thousands of goldminers are now thought to be operating illegally in the territory, one group just 15km from this uncontacted village. The miners are putting the Indians’ lives at risk by transmitting diseases and polluting their rivers with mercury.

An operation is under way to remove them, but the Yanomami are calling for proper long-term measures to keep illegal invaders out.

The Yanomami have released aerial film footage to mark the 20th anniversary of the creation of the 'Yanomami Park' © Hutukara/Survival 2011

Davi Kopenawa, Yanomami shaman and spokesman who has become known as ‘the Dalai Lama of the rainforest’, says in the film, ‘I would like the non-Indians to respect their own law… so the uncontacted Yanomami can live in peace’.

Photographs released last year also proved the existence of this uncontacted Yanomami community.

The Yanomami Park in Brazil was created on 25 May 1992, following years of campaigning by Davi Kopenawa Yanomami, Survival International, and the Pro Yanomami Commission.

Survival continues to work alongside the Yanomami of Brazil and Venezuela, in their campaign to protect their forest from invasions.

Read an article by Survival’s Director on the 20th anniversary of the Yanomami Park, and the historic campaign that secured it.