Letter Indians Pantanal (fwd)

Rob Huntley (rob at pinetree.pinetree.org)
Thu, 1 Feb 1996 08:54:55 -0500 (EST)

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Date: Wed, 31 Jan 1996 17:32:29 -0800
From: Glen Switkes <glen at irn.org>
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Subject: Letter Indians Pantanal

Aquidauana, Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil, January 27, 1996

The following letter was sent by 180 indigenous
people of the world's largest wetlands, the Mato
Grosso Pantanal, to the Inter-american Development
Bank, regarding the Bank's support for studies for
the Paraguay-Parana Hidrovia industrial waterway,
and for the Pantanal project, both of which will
have environmental and cultural impacts on
the region, and both of which are being
designed and implemented without consultation with
the traditional inhabitants of the region.

We, the Guatos, Terena, Kaiowa, Bororo, Umotina, Pareci
and Kinikinao are the traditional peoples that the Great
Creator chose to live in and protect this region of the world.
Throughout time, our ancestors taught us to live in harmony
with the waters, birds, and plants, as a way of giving thanks
and nurturing this gift for our well-being.

With the arrival of the white man came the roads and
the railroad, and then came diseases and new customs
which were unknown to us. This was the new civilization.

The Inter-american Development Bank - IDB, is now
financing a large-scale project under the pretext of
developing the southern cone. We know that this
project is part of a new re-organization of the world
economy, which will truly attend only the ambitions of
unscrupulous whites, where egotism, nepotism,
and political rivalries reign and only the fittest survive.

In this context of the decadence of the white man, we
indigenous peoples were never considered, and were
instead only victimized.

The project.

We were never consulted, but we recommended
that this type of ambition must be halted for the
good of humanity. Their money must not disrespect
and destroy the homes of our people and of the Great

Our role is to serve the memory of our people and
of the Great Creator. Our role is to serve the memory
of our ancestors and of our traditions and to defend
the Pantanal, because only in this way can we go forward
towards the future in search of a better life.

the indigenous voice asks: Why do they want to destroy
the natural waterway? Who is going to benefit?
Who is going to become rich with this? Up to what
point is the IDB aware of the threat of destruction
and empoverishment which the large-scale projects
bring for our people.

Not only in Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Bolivia, and Argentina.

We appeal to the Bank to be clear and transparent in its
proposals, because our villages are worried. Will we
be victims? Or may we dream of a better future?


For more information:
Contact the Rios Vivos Secretariat
Campo Grande, Brazil
tel: +55-67-724-3230
fax: +55-67-724-9109
email: ecoabrmspant at ax.apc.org