“We are being forgotten about, abandoned”

Renowned indigenous chief Aritana Yawalapíti died of Covid-19 one month ago. His son speaks to The Brazilian Report on his father's legacy

indigenous chief Aritana Yawalapíti
Indigenous chief Aritana Yawalapíti died on August 5, 2020. Photo: Ademir Rodrigues/Brasil Indígena/FUNAI

September 5 is Amazon Day, commemorated around Brazil to mark the emancipation of the Province of Amazonas in 1850, a region that now encompasses the states of Amazonas and Roraima. These days, the date is largely observed by environmentalist NGOs and activist groups, concerned with the progressive destruction of Brazil’s largest biome. This Amazon Day, however, comes with an added taste of melancholy, as it marks the one-month anniversary of the death of indigenous chief Aritana Yawalapíti. A prominent leader for Brazil’s native peoples, he died from Covid-19, aged 71.

Aritana battled the symptoms of his disease for two weeks,...

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