The rainforest is for every human being: Tashka Yawanawá at TEDGlobal 2014

Partnerships like this are vital, fragile, and potentially consciousness raising/preservationist! This is a good example of indigenous leadership and global awareness: “The plants are central to Yawanawá culture, but have also been historically exploited, one of the main natural resources that led to early interference by Western society. Now, though, the Yawanawá are working toward a better way to distribute their resources to outsiders. They’ve formed a partnership with the American cosmetics company Aveda, who use the red dye of their urucum plants. The Yawanawá use urucum for ritual body painting that symbolizes health, happiness and beauty, and Aveda has incorporated the dye’s cultural significance into their packaging of the products. Proceeds from the relationship are going to fund education and social projects for the Yawanawá.”

TED Blog

TG14_100714_DD5B8054_1920Chief Tashka of the Yawanawá, an indigenous people of the Amazon rainforest, opens with a song, as is traditional of his people’s gatherings. He then begins to tell the story of Brazil’s indigenous rights movement that developed in the ’70s and ’80s, when many young people from the indigenous population (who make up about 1% of Brazilians) started moving to cities to study, following violence and assimilation efforts against their communities. His people and others raised their voices for the ownership and demarcation of their land, but most of all for the right to have a say in their own future. “They were treating us like children,” he says. “As if we were not responsible for ourselves, for our futures.”

Slowly, progress was made, and the Yawanawá were able to assert their legal claim to much of their land. But unfortunately, he says, the government still does not give the…

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