Yanomami Found Were Co-opted by Mining, Says Indigenous Leader

Júnior Hekurari stated that he has been threatened and can no longer visit the villages

After saying in a statement to the Federal Police on Thursday (5) that the Yanomami allegedly disappeared from the village of Aracaçá (in Roraima) had been found and that part of them were in another community, the indigenous leader Júnior Hekurari says he believes the miners in the region co-opted them.

In a telephone conversation with Folha, Hekurari, who is president of Condisi-YY (District Council for Yanomami and Ye'kwana Indigenous Health), says that this information came through images obtained by him and also through trusted relatives—how indigenous people refer to members of the ethnic group—who saw the disappeared. "They are in the hands of the garimpo. They are coerced. The prospectors have gotten into their heads." According to him, photos published by members of the illegal mining show people who used to live in the village of Aracaçá among the miners.

On Thursday morning (5), Hekurari gave a statement to the Federal Police saying that the missing Yanomami from the village of Aracaçá (in Roraima) had been found. Later on Thursday, Hekurari learned that his relatives had seen members of Aracaçá in garimpeiro camps. When questioned, he did not know how many relatives were found, but said they were seen in the Uraricoera River, about 5 km from the village. Hekurari and other people interviewed by the report (those anonymously) say that the co-option of the indigenous people was already a possibility they were considering since the miners "dominated everything" in the Aracaçá region. The fear now is that the village will disappear for good.

Translated by Kiratiana Freelon

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