Brazil's Attempt to Deceive at U.N. Rejected by Indigenous Leaders | Amazon Watch
Amazon Watch

Brazil’s Attempt to Deceive at U.N. Rejected by Indigenous Leaders

September 22, 2019 | For Immediate Release

Amazon Watch, Defend Democracy in Brazil Committee

For more information, contact: or +1.510.281.9020

Brazil’s government plans to include in its delegation to the U.N. General Assembly an un-representative indigenous woman to accompany President Bolsonaro. The move appears intended to provide legitimacy for Bolsonaro’s controversial policies and proposals to open the Amazon for business at the expense of the environment, the climate, and indigenous rights.

Chief from the Xingu Indigenous Territory and the Association of Xingu Indigenous People, which together represent sixteen indigenous nationalities in the Xingu region, repudiate this move and issued a letter rejecting what they consider to be the manipulatory inclusion in the Brazilian government delegation of an indigenous woman, Ysani Kalapalo, who does not represent the Kalapalo people and who, in fact, regularly makes defamatory statements about indigenous peoples on social media. The list of signatories includes the chief of the Kalapalo people.

The Association of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (APIB), the Defend Democracy in Brazil Committee of New York, Amazon Watch, and several other organizations support the chiefs’ statement. These groups recently sent an open letter to the U.N. Secretary-General demanding that the United Nations formally censure Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro at the General Assembly for incentivizing the destruction of the Amazon.

Sixteen indigenous chiefs and the Association of Xingu Indigenous Peoples issued the following statement:

Statement of Repudiation Against Indigenous “Representative” Among the Brazilian Government Delegation in the United Nations

State of Mato Grosso, Brazil
Xingu Indigenous Territory

As representatives of the 16 indigenous peoples of the Xingu Indigenous Territory (Aweti, Matipu, Mehinako, Kamaiurá, Kuikuro, Kisedje, Ikpeng, Yudjá, Kawaiweté, Kalapalo, Narovuto, Waurá, Yawalapiti, Trumai, Nafukuá and Tapayuna peoples), we come before Brazilian society to repudiate the Brazilian government’s intention to include the indigenous woman Ysani Kalapalo in the official Brazilian delegation to participate in the United Nations General Assembly to be held in New York City on September 24, 2019.

Once again, the Brazilian government demonstrates their disrespect for Xingu’s renowned indigenous peoples and leaders and other national indigenous leaders, disrespecting the autonomy of indigenous peoples’ organizations to make decisions and appoint their representatives at national and international events.

The Brazilian government offends the indigenous leaders of Xingu and Brazil by highlighting an indigenous woman who has been constantly working on social networks with the sole purpose of offending and demoralizing Brazil’s indigenous leaders and movements.

The 16 indigenous peoples of the Xingu Indigenous Territory reaffirm their right of decision autonomy through their own governance system composed of all the highest chiefs of the Xingu people.

Not content with attacks on indigenous peoples, the Brazilian government now wants to legitimize its anti-indigenous policy by using an indigenous figure sympathetic to its radical ideologies with the intention of convincing the international community of its colonialist and ethnocidal policy.

We do not accept and will never accept the Brazilian government appointing our indigenous representation on its own without consulting us through our recognized and supported organizations and leaders.


Tafukuma Kalapalo / Chief of the Kalapalo People
Aritana Yawalapiti / Chief of the Yawalapiti People
Afukaká Kuikuro / Chief of the Kuikuro People
Kotok Kamaiurá / Chief of the Kamaiurá People
Atakaho Waurá / Chief of the Wauja People
Tirefé Nafukuá / Chief of the Nafukua People
Arifira Matipu / Chief of the Matipu People
Awajatu Aweti / Chief of the Aweti People
Mayukuti Mehinako / Chief of the Mehinako People
Kowo Trumai / Chief of the Trumai People
Melobo Ikpeng / Chief of the Ikpeng People
Kuiussi Suya / Chief of the Kisedje People
Sadeá Yudjá / Chief of the Yudja People
Mairawe Kaiabi / Chief of the Kawaiwete People
Xingu Indigenous Land Association – ATIX

Interviews with indigenous leaders currently in New York available upon request.


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