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Chief RAONI METUKTIRE - letter of support to the Idle No More‘ movement and my indigenous brothers in Canada

Chief RAONI METUKTIRE - letter of support to the Idle No More‘ movement and my indigenous brothers in Canada

Introduction : It is like a cry of raging anger from Canada's First Nations people. The ‘Idle No More’ movement is about to enter history as one of the great protest movements to move humanity forward. It is a spontaneous movement which local authorities did not see coming; in this regard it is similar in its development to the ‘Arab Spring’ because it is inspired by the people and social networks.

It all started with four women and one drop which caused the cup to overflow. A law, with the horrible name of a prisoner's number, C-45, was proposed and then adopted by the Harper government, simplifying the acquisition of indigenous peoples land and severely diminishing the requirements for the protection of flowing waters and lakes, so essential to their survival. This is a tragic moment for the Indian people of Canada. “Idle No More” has become their war song.

Roads, railways, construction sites, bridges and shopping malls are all beeing peacefully picketed. Workers, unions, NGOs, globalization objectors; people are coming out in force to join the Indians. It is truly historic. The drop that overflowed became a brook, then a stream, then a river and soon it will become a spring-tide of humanity, because ‘Idle No More’ is growing every day and like a large river, its tributaries are starting to reach even the most distant parts of our planet. The Idle No More tides unsettles the media and the politicians and goes against the grain on the world wide web. 

The tide has found its way to the United States, and is now coming to Europe. It swells ever more with the waters of the Xingu River, endangered by the Belo Monte dam, from which now rises the voice of its most ardent defender, Chief Raoni. This powerful voice, the one of a wise man who is respected throughout the world, has crossed 8000 km to build a bridge between the dramas of two parallel histories: that of the North-American Indian and that of their brothers in the South. Both are happening as we write this and Idle No More can play an important role in this crucial chapter.

This is the intention behind Chief Raoni’s support for the Idle No More Movement. The Indians and native peoples of all continents must stand and march together? They should be joined by those who are beeing crushed by modern civilization, who can identify with their struggle. Chief Raoni’s message of support carries the impulse and force of a spring tide. Its groundswell flows as the voice of the Kayapo and today it reaches accross to Canada. It’s reflow, the songs of the First Nations and ‘Idle No More’ will hopefully find its' way to Brazil and the rest of the American Indian continent. It will awaken people's awareness and let the powerful tremble.

Gert-Peter Bruch - Planète Amazone 


Chief RAONI METUKTIRE, Kayapo people, Mato Grosso, Brazil 


Letter of support to the Idle No More‘ movement and my indigenous brothers in Canada

With this letter, I, Cacique Raoni Metuktire, Chief of the Mebengokre (Kayapo) people native of Brazil, wish to offer my support for the ‘Idle No More’ movement, recently founded in Canada and initiated by our indigenous brothers of that country.

During the summer of 2001, in the month of August, I had the honor and immense joy of visiting some of them. Along with other Kayapo representatives, Takrakudja, Patni and my son Tedje, we accepted the invitation of the Innus of the Northern Quebec coast and we were welcomed in the communities of the Mani-utenam, Unaman-shipu, Pakut-shipu and Ekuanitshit. I have supported, in the name of my people, the efforts of the Innus for the preservation of Nitassinan and its natural resources.

We then realized that, even though we lived very far apart from each other, our two brother peoples encountered the same problems, faced the same challenges and the same threats: hydroelectric dams, mining and prospecting, the separation of indigenous territories to facilitate road construction and of course the deforestation. In addition to this came the commercialization of water and low-flying airplanes. We have seen this on our land and our people have suffered the consequences these developments cause to the ecosystem, the flora and fauna, on our families and our traditional activities.

At Pakut-shipu, I witnessed first-hand the installations of the Robertson dam and the upheaval this caused to the Innus territory. I have myself demanded the support of the entire world, in the name of my people and other Xingu peoples, to prevent the construction of the Belo Monte dam, which causes us so much worry. There are many people who support us but the government of my country does not want to listen to them, just as it also does not want to listen to me and my people, In the same way the government of Canada does not want to listen to the voices of our indigenous brothers either.

I have heard about what is currently happening in Canada and I am deeply troubled.

I understand that the government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper has adopted the application of law C-45 in December 2012, without previously having consulted the leaders of the First Nations and without obtaining their freely and clearly expressed consent for this measure, which constitutes a violation of the First Nations treaties which were agreed to and signed by the Canadian government. I understand that this law empowers the Minister for Indian Affairs to engage in measures which allow him to remove the reservation status of a native territory, thereby opening the door for the privatization of indigenous territories in Canada. Once again, everything is arranged so that our brothers can be dispossessed of their land.

I also understand that this law will enable the reduction of the number of protected lakes and rivers in Canada and that this law will soften the environmental standards so that corporations can increase their profits, without having to worry about pollution and the poisoning of the native populations who have already suffered so much in this regard. I understand this law endangers the drinking water which our indigenous brothers need in order to live. I understand this law will affect the fishermen. Fishing is essential to the survival of my people and it is one of the reasons for which we are against the construction of large dams, because it damages and causes the disappearance of numerous species on which we depend for our survival. That's why I understand very well the worries and concerns of the Canadian fishermen.

As with us, the rights of native populations of Canada are protected by the constitution of their country and the international human rights conventions. And as with us also, the rights of the native populations of Canada are trampled underfoot by the government of their country.

The minister of Indian Affairs, John Duncan, claims to have visited 50 native communities and had more than 500 consultations, but he was never given the consent of the First Nations for the implementation of the seven law projects against which the ‘Idle No More’ activists are opposed.

It is for all of these reasons that I wish to clearly express my total solidarity with the activists of ‘Idle No More’ who rightly demand that the Harper government prevent the application of law C-45 until Stephen Harper himself has met, and consulted in person with, the leaders of the native peoples and received their consent.

I have come to know that all over the world there are more and more people every day who support the ‘Idle No More’ movement, particularly on the social media networks. I invite all who support my activities to also support ‘Idle No More’ and I invite all those who support Idle No More to also support the struggle of my people, the Kayapo, for the protection of the indigenous territories and the opposition to the Belo Monte dam.

It is a common struggle. And so, we shall never forget that we are stronger when we are united. It is for this reason that my indigenous brothers in Canada can always count on my support.

I am today, as I will be tomorrow, among them in spirit and with them in their struggles and demonstrations for their rights.

With sincere brotherhood,


Chief Raoni Metuktire*

*the orignal document of this letter is also signed by Megaron Txucarramãe, Yabuti Metuktire and Ararapam Trumai, great leaders of the Kayapo people.


Idle no more on the web:

- official website
- facebook

Date : 01/03/2013