Brazilian religious leaders of diverse spiritual traditions, members of the Interreligious Initiative for the Brazilian Tropical Forests (IRI), participated this past Thursday 14th of April during the morning in an act of solidarity with the indigenous people in the Acampamento Terra Livre (ATL). The religious people were received by the indigenous leaders at the center of the camp.
The following religious leaders participated in the act, with messages in favour of the fight for indigenous people and the protection of forests: Pastor Romi Bencke, from the Brazilian National Council of Christian Churches (CONIC), Father Marcus Barbosa, from the Brazilian National Conference of Bishops (CNBB), Pastor Maruilson Souza, from the Brazilian Christian Evangelical Alliance (ACEB), Sonia Guajajara, executive coordinator of the Articulation of Brazilian Indigenous Communities (APIB), Flavio Conrado, from Religious for Peace Brazil and Baptist Alliance in Brazil, Mother Baiana do Acarajé, member of the District Council of Religious Diversity, Natalia Gedanken, from the Cultural Israelite Association from Brasilia (CONIB), Fernando de La Rocque, anthropologist and founder of the Eclectic Center of Universal Flowing Light Alfredo Gregório de Melo (CEFLAG), who follows the spiritual doctrine of Saint Daime, and Monk Sato from Buddhism.
During the act they read the Open Letter against the set of bills known as the Packet of Environmental Destruction, specially against the bill 191/2020, that frees mining, gold extraction and other big entrepreneur projects in indigenous lands, which must be voted with urgency on the following days.
A symbolic act marked the closing: each religious leader and the indigenous representatives placed a handful of dirt in a pot and together planted a secuoya tree. The ceremony also included a special presentation from Daniel Pataxó, an indigenous leader who sand a spiritual song. The action had as meaning the union of everyone for the ecological restoration of Brazilian land and the defense of the constitutional rights of indigenous communities, quilombolas, ribereños, and other communities that live in the forests and take care of them and the environment on general.
“The act was very important because, first, it affirmed our compromise with the rights to exist of traditional communities. It’s fundamental to be with them in their fight for the territory and their rights. Second, because it was the first in place meeting of the IRI. And I believe there can’t be a more symbolic and important moment for that”, said Romi.
Translation: Massimiliano Tron F