Eighty-seven-year-old Chief Raoni Metuktire is on a three week tour of select European cities, meeting leaders, celebrities and the Pope to highlight threats to his home and the Amazon forest more broadly, the Rio Times reports
Known internationally for his partnership with British music star Sting in the 1990s, Raoni is seeking to raise one million euros (around $1.6 million) to protect the Amazon’s Xingu Indigenous Park from the invasion of big industry including logging, farming, mining and irrigation: industries whose exploration into the Xingu reserve and other areas of the Brazilian Amazon region have all been strongly supported by the country’s far-right President, Jair Bolsonaro.
One of the measures the Kayapo and other indigenous peoples of the Xingu, seek to deploy in order to increase awareness around protection of the reserve – which is located in the state of Mato Grosso, Brazil – is the erection of a high bamboo fence to delineate the area. Funds raised will also pay for drones and satellite imaging to monitor the region, The Rio Times reports.
Last week, in an eight hour meeting in Paris with Raoni, the French president Emmanuel Macron, told the Xingu leader that France supports the defence of the Amazon and its indigenous peoples from exploitation.
The French leader also announced that his country intends to host a summit of Indigenous people in 2020.
Last Friday in Brussels, Belgium, Raoni joined students in a demonstration against climate crisis. Students around the world have been walking out of classes every Friday to pressure heads of state to do more to combat environmental heating.
Raoni and several other Xingu leaders will continue their tour of Switzerland, Luxembourg, Monaco and Italy where the delegation intends to meet with Pope Francis at the Vatican, according to the Paris-based, Virgin Forest Association.
Data released in April from Amazon, an NGO which monitors deforestation in the Amazon region, shows a 24 per cent increase in deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon region over the last 12-months.