Ropni Metyktire, better known as Cacique Raoni, world-renowned leader of the Kayapó indigenous people, received the title of Honorary Member of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (UICN). The announcement was made last Wednesday (8) during the schedule of the World Union Congress, which takes place in Marseille, France, until September 11, when the National Day of the Cerrado is celebrated in Brazil.
At the opening ceremony of the international event, French president Emmanuel Macron greeted the awardee alongside actor Harrisson Ford and photographer Sebastião Salgado.
The honor is given every four years in recognition of outstanding service to the conservation of nature and natural resources. Chief Raoni was honored along with three other personalities: Fijian ornithologist Richard John Watling, Lebanese environmentalist Assad Serhal, and British scientist Jane Goodall, whose contribution revolutionized understanding of the relationship between primates and humans.
The nomination of Cacique Raoni for the award was made by the Society, Population and Nature Institute (ISPN), with the intention of increasing knowledge about the great contribution of leadership to the global climate balance.
:: Raoni is nominated for member of the largest environmental conservation organization in the world ::
“We nominate Raoni as a representative of the importance of Indigenous Peoples and Traditional Communities for nature conservation”, comments Fabio Vaz, ISPN’s general coordinator. Vaz highlights that this importance was reiterated recently in a study published by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
“We believe that the historic contribution of Cacique Raoni in the struggles for nature conservation and the defense of indigenous rights was, and continues to be, fundamental for the socio-environmental field”, congratulates the coordinator.
As a form of thanks, the Kayapó leadership, who inhabits a transitional region between the Amazon and the Cerrado, in the state of Mato Grosso, sent a message calling for an end to the war against indigenous people and an end to deforestation.
“I don’t want war to come back between us. I just want us to live together in peace,” says Raoni on the recording. She remembers that her ancestors arrived first in the region of the Americas and that the European colonizers took away all the wealth from the original people.
“I don’t really like bad things. What’s bad? It threatens. You whites kill each other. You deforest the forest, which is bad. This is bad for us Indians. For you whites, this is good.” continues the chief.
He concludes by calling for a stop to the destruction of the forest and natural resources. “That’s why I say, ‘Listen to me!’
::Assaulted by the president at the UN, chief Raoni defends: “Bolsonaro has to leave”::
Who is Raoni?
At the age of 91, Cacique Raoni is on a trajectory of resistance in search of peace. Nationally, he stood out in the 1970s, when he led protests against the construction of BR-080 (today MT-322) in defense of the demarcation of TI Capoto Jarina. In 1987 and 1988, it played a leading role, alongside other indigenous leaders, in guaranteeing the rights of indigenous peoples in the Federal Constitution.
Politically, over the years, he met with political leaders to make the indigenous cause visible. He fought against the Belo Monte Plant and, in 2020, was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize (learn more). In this year of 2021, he contracted covid-19, was hospitalized, but recovered and continues to be an inspiration for all people who fight for environmental conservation around the world.
Edition: Vinícius Segalla