• Monthly
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $other
  • use PayPal


Is it time for our Spring fundraiser already? If you enjoy what we offer, and have the means, please consider donating. The sooner we reach our modest goal, the faster we can get back to business as (un)usual. Please, stay safe and we’ll see you down the road.

A Message For America from Brazil’s First Indigenous Congresswoman

Photograph Source: The Institute for Inclusive Security – CC BY 2.0

Last year, we all watched in horror as the Amazon rainforest burned at an unprecedented rate. We cannot afford to lose it, especially amid a climate emergency. It’s vast greenery releases oxygen and stores carbon dioxide, a heat-trapping gas that causes of global warming. The death of the Amazon would mean the end of life on Earth.

Indigenous peoples of the Amazon have been on the frontlines of protecting the rainforest since colonization began.

Joênia Wapixana, from the Indigenous nation of Wapichana, is the first Indigenous woman elected to the Chamber of Deputies in Brazil. She recently traveled to Washington, D.C. to meet with Congresswomen Rep. Deb Haaland (D-NM) and Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN).

She came to share her concern over the imminent dangers that now threatens the very existence of the Amazon rainforest, as well as the survival of the Indigenous Tribespeople who call it home. Joênia is the only Indigenous representative in the Brazilian Parliament.

I had the opportunity to interview her during her visit.

She is extremely worried about human rights violations against Indigenous peoples of the Amazon that are ever-growing in frequency and severity, as well as the Amazon ecosystem itself. Wapixana sees both as global issues that falls under international affairs.

According to Wapixana, the rights of Indigenous peoples of Brazil are being constantly attacked and the current conditions in the Amazon promote their genocide. “The violations of our rights, the paralyzation of the demarcation of Indigenous lands, the invasions of our territories, have only grown in the second year under the government of Bolsonaro.” She also says that new projects, like a recently passed mining bill, reinforce the use of violence against Indigenous.

Congresswoman Wapixana came to the United States because she believes we can help. She says that the violation of human rights should be an issue for all people, regardless of race, color, creed, or colonial borders, and that while 98.7% of the Amazon is Indigenous land, she sees the rainforest, being the lungs of the planet, as belonging to everyone. Along with that sense of ownership comes responsibility. As a result, all of humanity has a duty to protect the Amazon.

One thing that the United States government can do to assist in the protection of the Amazon is to build measures and pass laws that prohibit the advancement and circulation of products that are being illegally extracted from the Amazon, like soy, timber and minerals, that enter the market as a direct result of the exploitation of Indigenous territories there.

“We have seen a lot of growth of products leaving Brazil without any fiscalization or monitoring. Measures could be put into place, with the national congress through administrative mechanisms, so that these products don’t arrive in the United States as products that are fruits of illegal invasions on Indigenous territories and which may contain, shall we say, situations that are contributing to the genocide of indigenous peoples in Brazil,” Wapixana reiterates.

The destruction of the Amazon rainforest and the threat of extinction to Indigenous Nations who have ancestral lands there weighs heavy on her heart. She wants us to preserve the world for our children and grandchildren.

“We, Indigenous peoples, for many years have been reinforcing these values that come from our ancestors. This is not just an ideological discourse or a vague thought, but are necessary actions that we need to take to fight the climate crisis so future generations are not doomed…and to make sure that, in a few years’ time, we, as Indigenous peoples, will not be relegated to books and the past.”

Additionally, Joênia sees women as being an important part of saving the Amazon, ending the climate crisis, protecting the rights of all and shaping our shared global future. “I encourage them to take an increasingly leading role in the defense of rights. It’s also essential to build policy to strengthen women, especially Indigenous women, who still have a dream of being a part of the decision-making process in their countries.”

Despite the dire warnings she brings, Congresswoman Wapixana remains hopeful, closing with:

“É possível construir um mundo melhor, um mundo mais sustentável, um mundo mais justo, um mundo que tenha o respeito à diversidade étnica, cultural, e ambiental.”


“It’s possible to build a better world, a more sustainable world, a more just world, a world that has respect for ethnic diversity, cultural and environmental.”

We must join forces to build a better future and ensure our mutual survival. We are all connected. We will rise or fall, together. The time to act is now. Stand with Indigenous, save the Amazon.

More articles by:

Ruth H. Hopkins is a Dakota/Lakota Sioux writer, journalist, Indigenous media consultant, former judge & co-founder of Lastrealindians.com.

June 02, 2020
Zoltan Grossman
Deploying Federal Troops in a War at Home Would Make a Bad Situation Worse
Nicholas Buccola
Amy Cooper is Christian Cooper’s Lost, Younger Sister 
Manuel García, Jr.
Global Warming is Nuclear War
Patrick Cockburn
An Unavoidable Recognition of Failure: Trump’s Withdrawal From Afghanistan
John Feffer
Is It Time to Boycott the USA?
Kathy Kelly
Beating Swords to Plowshares
Lawrence Davidson
U.S. Urban Riots Revisited
Sam Pizzigati
“Failed State” Status Here We Come
Ron Jacobs
In Defense of Antifa
Cesar Chelala
Bolsonaro and Trump: Separated at Birth
George Wuerthner
The BLM’s License to Destroy Sagebrush Ecosystems
Danny Antonelli
The Absurdity of Hope
Binoy Kampmark
Sinister Flatulence: Trump Versus Twitter
John Stanton
How Much Violence and Destruction is Enough for Depraved American Leaders and Their Subjects?
Richard C. Gross
The Enemy Within
Thomas Knapp
Trump’s “Free Speech:” Doctrine: Never, Ever, Ever Mention He’s a Liar
John W. Whitehead
This Is Not a Revolution. It’s a Blueprint for Locking Down the Nation
June 01, 2020
Joshua Frank
It’s a Class War Now Too
Richard D. Wolff
Why the Neoliberal Agenda is a Failure at Fighting Coronavirus
Henry Giroux
Racial Domestic Terrorism and the Legacy of State Violence
Ron Jacobs
The Second Longest War in the United States
Kanishka Chowdhury
The Return of the “Outside Agitator”
Lee Hall
“You Loot; We Shoot”
Dave Lindorff
Eruptions of Rage
Jake Johnston
An Impending Crisis: COVID-19 in Haiti, Ongoing Instability, and the Dangers of Continued U.S. Deportations
Nick Pemberton
What is Capitalism?
Linda G. Ford
“Do Not Resuscitate”: My Experience with Hospice, Inc.
Medea Benjamin - Nicolas J. S. Davies
Who Are the Secret Puppet-Masters Behind Trump’s War on Iran?
Manuel García, Jr.
A Simple Model for Global Warming
Howard Lisnoff
Is the Pandemic Creating a Resurgence of Unionism? 
Frances Madeson
Federal Prisons Should Not be Death Chambers
Hayley Brown – Dean Baker
The Impact of Upward Redistribution on Social Security Solvency
Raúl Carrillo
We Need a Public Option for Banking
Kathy Kelly
Our Disaster: Why the United States Bears Responsibility for Yemen’s Humanitarian Crisis
Sonali Kolhatkar
An Open Letter to Joe Biden on Race
Scott Owen
On Sheep, Shepherds, Wolves and Other Political Creatures
John Kendall Hawkins
All Night Jazz All The Time
Weekend Edition
May 29, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Tim Wise
Protest, Uprisings, and Race War
Nick Pemberton
White Supremacy is the Virus; Police are the Vector
T.J. Coles
What’s NATO Up to These Days? Provoking Russia, Draining Healthcare Budgets and Protecting Its Own from COVID
Benjamin Dangl
Bibles at the Barricades: How the Right Seized Power in Bolivia
Kevin Alexander Gray - Jeffrey St. Clair - JoAnn Wypijewski
There is No Peace: an Incitement to Justice
Jeffrey St. Clair
A Few Good Sadists
Jeff Mackler
The Plague of Racist Cop Murders: Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd and the COVID-19 Pandemic
Joshua Frank
In Search of a Lost Socialism