Kayapo: Part 4

Who does the Amazon belong to? The Kayapo still steward much of the land there, but illegal industries are threatening to destroy this irreplaceable habitat that houses a third of Earth’s plants and animals. And that has consequences for all of us. Discover how you can become a part of the international team strengthening Kayapo territory and preserving the life-giving rainforest for all life on Earth.

Kayapo man fishing. Photo by Rodrigo Salles/Untamed Angling.



You wish to fill your belly so you head outside the protective ring of the village, down to where the land ends until you can go no further. Standing on the shore of the great river, its waters lapping against your bare toes, you face the current. You notice the fallen fragments of the forest, swift and glittering, sailing downstream before they vanish from your view altogether.

Then you draw your weapon. Maybe it’s a bow, maybe it’s a spear. It matters not. Your muscles have a memory of their own. In minutes you pull your first catch of the day from the dark waters, and smile.

The river is abundant. Your family will eat tonight.

You hunt awhile longer, until filled with the satisfaction that you have sufficient food to feed the ones you care about most. Content, you traverse the land back to the village, silent except for the exhalation of your breath, listening to the howling, chirping, screeching life all around you. And you give thanks. For even as you carry fish back to your family you also carry within your beating heart the truth that you belong to this forest, this river, this place, and once again this place has provided for you.

You also know that when the time comes you will fight like hell to defend it from certain destruction.

This is the singular truth of the Kayapo. It is for this reason why this fragile ecosystem thrives under their care.

(Kayapo family fishing. Photo by Martin Schoeller.)

But the truth carried by one individual, one village, one tribe is not enough to defend the Amazon from illegal industries profiting from its devastation. The Kayapo’s truth must be shared beyond the forest’s frontier and beyond the boundaries of any one country. Their truth must become our truth.

It must become your truth.

NGO’s have played a crucial role in providing the Kayapo people with the tools to withstand the industrial onslaught that threatens to deprive them of both autonomy and land. But without the continued support of a growing international community, their stewardship of the rainforest will become ever more precarious.

Already, the danger around them grows. Changes in the Brazilian government forebode dark times ahead for the Kayapo and all of Brazil’s Indigenous land stewards. More than ever, they need our support. They need your support.

This protection isn’t just for them, it’s for us, for the entire world. Without sharing in the special relationship the Kayapo have with their land, we still rely on the healthy functioning of these ecosystems to provide us with climate stability. The gifts that come from the Amazon rainforest are not restricted to the 11 million square hectares of Kayapo country. They are experienced by all of us. We may not have the same relationship with the rainforest that the Kayapo do, but just like for them, it provides for us too.

And like them, we might consider giving thanks for the land, and readying ourselves for its defense.

For starters, we can support the work of those who are, at great personal risk, building coalitions between Indigenous groups, like the Kayapo and western NGOs. Without this collaboration there is little hope for the protection of the rainforest. Nature Needs Half fosters these alliances around the world, in the Amazon and in other places including India’s tiger landscape, and builds strong networks that create a web of hope for years to come.

(Kayapo children playing in village. Photo by Martin Schoeller.)

Kayapo children playing in village. Photo by Martin Schoeller.

50% by 2050

Why 2020?

We can stop the sixth mass extinction if we protect approximately 50% of the 846 ecoregions that provide habitat for all of Earth's biodiversity. That means finding leaders and organizations around the world willing to align exisiting efforts around protecting and interconnecting nature in the region.

Learn More
Working together is the natural first step to saving nature.

Here’s how you can work with the Kayapo Project to strengthen their stewardship of the land and protect the Amazonian rainforest.

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You Can Help

Your help bringing greater awareness to the efforts of the Indigenous peoples who are defending the rainforests for the benefit of all life on Earth is essential. Please consider sharing this infographic with your networks on social media. Thank you!

The Kayapo Project remains effective because of the generous support of:

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