Kayapo Way of Life

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The Kayapo Indians live in the Amazon River Basin of Brazil with villages along the Xingu River. Vanderbilt reports that their population in 2003 was 7,096. They inhabit over 28.4 million acres of the Amazonian Rainforest. This land was received formally via land reserves from Brazil in the 1980’s and 1990’s. The land is mostly tropical rainforest and grassland. The Kayapo live in balance with their natural ecosystem. The indigenous people hunt, fish, and practice slash and burn agriculture. The Kayapo way of life is ever threatened by mining, logging and the threat of Brazilian developers who wish to build the world’s 3rd largest dam (Belo Monte) along with a series of support dams. I support the Kayapo rights to preserve their way of life over the rights of those of the greater “world” to have access to it. This land is theirs to do with as they please. Since the 1950’s when the Kayapo people began to interact with the outside world, they have managed to participate in many aspects of the contemporary world while maintaining their indigenous culture. It is important to allow them to continue their way of life for as long as they choose. I feel that the Brazilian government has an obligation to protect the rights of the Kayapo not only for the Kayapo, but also for the greater good of our planet. If mining, logging, cattle ranching go unregulated and dams are permitted, the global ecological balance could adversely shift. When researching the Kayapo Indians, I have found arguments that do not support preserving the Kayapo way of life. The predominant argument is the Brazilian electricity shortage. Many argue the need for the construction of the Belo Monte dam to produce power for the region. Hydroelectric production is touted as both a solution to Brazil's periodic blackouts and as the "clean development" approach to global climate change. Additionally, some could argue that the Kayapo hold too much land for so few people. Although legally...
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