One Amazon tribe has been surviving for years, battling back ranchers and gold miners from taking their land. And even famously once the Kayapo tribe stopped a dam from being built. Their leaders are constantly fighting to keep their tribes way of life alive.
To enter the Amazon Basin you have to travel by boat or plane, and any journeyer may believe they are going back in time, joining the long list of El Dorado seekers or wilderness explorers. Or the long list of trouble-seekers like jaguar poachers, illegal deforestation activities or companies solely looking for profits. One such company is hydro dam builders, interested in creating sources for hydroelectricity, they do not give much thought to the consequences of their dams. In 1989, the kayapo successful organized a five-day media conference to block the Kararao Dam project.
This conference gained much international transaction with conservation organizations and even celebrities like Sting. And thus started the term of Kayapo Courage, to showcase the indigenous tribes immense battle to keep their way of life. They mainly eat fish from the Amazon river and any dam would disrupt this way of life completely. It would also flood most of their lands, causing them to become inhabitable.
The Kayapo tribe have always lived in the Amazon forest, but without destroying it at all, they have preserved it to keep it intact for future generations: and that is what they plan to continue to do. Kayapo youth are now on the internet, they are not oblivious to the benefits of modern technology, many go to school and on to college. Once they have studied, they generally return to their villages and help their people use all the legal methods available to protect their lands.
As they have famously stated many times before:
“We have decided that we do not want a single penny of your dirty money… Our river does not have a price, our fish that we eat does not have a price, and the happiness of our grandchildren does not have a price”
Will they be able to keep their culture and protect their lands from the ever-growing threats? That is to be seen, but one thing is for sure the Kayapo courage will never stop and their hope will shine like a beacon for many generations to come.