19-Year-Old Indigenous Climate Activist Artemisa Xakriabá: “We Fight for Mother Earth”

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Friday’s climate strike in New York City concluded with remarks from indigenous leaders, activists and organizers. Artemisa Xakriabá, a 19-year-old indigenous climate activist of the Xakriabá people, spoke about the increasing intensity of environmental destruction across Brazil and the interconnectedness of the fight for climate justice. “We fight for our Mother Earth because the fight for Mother Earth is the mother of all other fights,” Xakriabá said. “We are fighting for your lives. We are fighting for our lives. We are fighting for our sacred territory. But we are being persecuted, threatened, murdered, only for protecting our own territories. We cannot accept one more drop of indigenous blood spilled.”

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This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

CLIMATE STRIKERS: People over profits! People over profits! People over profits! People over profits! Wall Street, we see your greed! Wall Street, we see your greed!

AMY GOODMAN: Voices from the Gobal Climate Strike in New York. The protest ended at Battery Park, where 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg addressed the crowd. But first, Artemisa Xakrriabá, a 19-year-old indigenous activist from Brazil, took to the stage.

ARTEMISA XAKRIABÁ: [translated] My name is Artemisa Xakriabá. I am 19 years old, and I am from the Xakriabá people in Brazil. I am here today representing the more than 25 million indigenous and traditional communities from the Global Alliance of Territorial Communities. This alliance is formed by four organizations: APIB from Brazil, COICA from the Amazon Basin, AMPB from Central America and AMAN from Indonesia. Together, we protect 600 million hectares of forest.

But I am also here as a young woman, because there’s no difference between an indigenous young female activist like myself and a young indigenous female activist like Greta. Our future is connected by the same threads of the climate crisis.

The Amazon is on fire. The Amazon agonizes year after year for the responsibility of the government and its destructive policies that intensify deforestation and drought, not only in the Amazon, but in the other five Brazilian biomes. Climate change is a result of this, and it also helps to make the fires stronger. And beyond the Amazon, there are the forests of Indonesia, Africa, North America, whose suffering has such an impact in my life and in your life.

We, the indigenous peoples, are the children of nature, so we fight for our Mother Earth, because the fight for Mother Earth is the mother of all other fights. We are fighting for your lives. We are fighting for our lives. We are fighting for our sacred territory. But we are being persecuted, threatened, murdered, only for protecting our own territories. We cannot accept one more drop of indigenous blood spilled.

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