Meet the Indigenous Leader Defending the Amazon

Born in the Brazilian jungle, the indigenous leader of the Kayapó people has defended the Amazon for over four decades — and he wants world leaders to step up. Meet Chief Raoni Metuktire.

Calling for more action in indigenous lands

Raoni Metuktire, the indigenous leader of Brazil’s Kayapó people, has defended the Amazon for over 4 decades. He's now urging world leaders to protect it from an alarming rise in threats by farmers, loggers, miners — and fires. During his campaign, before he became president, Bolsonaro threatened to eliminate our indigenous rights organization, FUNAI. He said he would allow white people to come onto our land, that’s what he said, and that’s exactly what he did once he was president. He gained international recognition after appearing in the 1978 Oscar-nominated documentary Raoni.

“To everyone who is watching me, I want to say that my commitment to protecting the forest must be heard, by all of you. because after our generation, others will come, our grandchildren will grow up and we must take care of what remains of the forest so that they too can benefit from it. These fires worry me greatly. He’s on the frontline with his tribe. And I believe he’s fighting a battle for me. I believe he’s fighting a battle for my children and my grandchildren too. Because if the forest goes, then it’s a part of dominoes and everything falls. I thought about it and concluded that I should ask the international community to help us establish the physical borders of our land so that we can continue to protect it. Many communities live on the banks of the Xingu River, and we want to protect it. This is my message today: we need the support of international leaders to establish the borders of our land,” Chief Raoni calling for more action.

He used his international fame to defend Brazil’s indigenous people — specifically against the threat posed by the hydroelectric Belo Monte dam on the Xingu River. In 1989, he went on a world tour with Sting, and advocated for the demarcation of Kayapó territory. He then helped Sting establish the Rainforest Foundation Fund. Despite Chief Raoni’s international petition against the Belo Monte dam, construction started in 2011 and it became operational in 2016. Environmental groups estimate it displaced around 20,000 people. Brazil’s 1988 constitution established the demarcation process of indigenous lands. But Chief Raoni is calling on the international community to stop the current encroachment on tribal lands.


09/05/2019 10:19 AMupdated: 09/05/2019 4:00 PM
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  • Stephanie M.
    09/05/2019 10:49

    obviously, he is quite current and knows he has to interact with people internationally.....this lip tradition ...being a trademark of his tribe, would be, all seriousness ...hard to ignore ...but i give him all the credit he does deserve for straight out guts and bravery to put himself out there and take on anybody, to do what he knows he has to do !!.. He does command respect on all accounts !! I don't think he will ever quit. Long live the Chief !! 💪💪👍👍

  • Celia C.
    09/05/2019 10:58

    Is this part of the pentpatjetgarra tribe?

  • Glorie D.
    09/05/2019 11:13

    top fan thank you

  • Allen P.
    09/05/2019 11:29


  • Holli N.
    09/05/2019 12:46

    Thank you ,, Fan .

  • Roja P.
    09/05/2019 12:48

    We being part of this beautiful planet🙏everyone should step up to save the planet 🌍

  • Paco C.
    09/05/2019 12:53

    Respect the LOCALS...

  • Mids B.
    09/05/2019 12:55

    Much love

  • Zuper K.
    09/05/2019 12:56

    Respect full the local😎😎

  • Dina N.
    09/05/2019 13:17

    Our children , never mind future generations , only see the rips of their toes . So much of life on this planet has died, and will die , it is depressing .

  • Brut
    09/05/2019 13:28

    Feel helpless about the destruction of the Amazon rainforest? Here are a few habit changes that could help make a small difference. 🌳0

  • Jerskey J.
    09/05/2019 13:32

    Why deform his mouth!!/?

  • Rhonda L.
    09/05/2019 13:45

    So true

  • Frank B.
    09/05/2019 13:52

    There used to be a time that we listened to our elders who were wise an defied those who were wicked. Now the majority just watches with the mentality (well it doesn't affect me) When this here affects us all. Peace love light

  • Michaela H.
    09/05/2019 14:04


  • Safwan A.
    09/05/2019 14:06

    هذا صاير فريق ركن 🤣

  • Leticia V.
    09/05/2019 14:14

    La Tierra hay que cuidarla. Para vivir

  • Lucas P.
    09/05/2019 15:06

    Get rid of Bozo

  • Muhammad A.
    09/05/2019 16:08

    should represent the MOHARRAM a historical BATTLE between TRUTH vs LIE

  • Muhammad A.
    09/05/2019 16:09

    reaearch the TRUE PATH