Indigenous leader Raoni hospitalized with Covid-19

raoni indigenous
Raoni. Photo: Fabio Rodrigues Pozzebom/ABr

Brazil’s most influential indigenous leader, Raoni Metuktire, 89, has been hospitalized in his home state of Mato Grosso after contracting Covid-19. The Raoni Institute said he is well and breathing normally, but he has presented some symptoms of pneumonia and an alteration in the level of leukocytes in his blood.

A worldwide renowned advocate for indigenous rights, Raoni spent nine days in hospital in July with an intestinal infection.

After over 30 years of activism work to protect the Amazon rainforest, Raoni gained international prominence in 1987 when he met with British singer Sting on a tour promoted by Amnesty International in favor of the demarcation of indigenous lands in Brazil.

Two years later — and always with his trademark lip plate, yellow feather hat, and earrings — Raoni accompanied Sting to 16 countries, campaigning for the creation of the National Park of the Xingu River, a 180,000-square-kilometer area between the states of Mato Grosso and Pará. The reserve was approved in 1993.

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