(Presidio of San Francisco - April 24, 2014)
The Presidio Trust is proud to welcome Davi Kopenawa, Amazonian shaman and internationally-recognized spokesman for Brazil's Yanomami tribe, and Fiona Watson of Survival International. The two will speak about Amazonian national parks, land rights, and the future of indigenous peoples. Representative of the local Muwekma Ohlone tribe will perform a public welcoming ceremony for Kopenawa at 6:30 p.m, followed by a blessing by Kopenawa. All events will take place at the Golden Gate Club, located at 135 Fisher Loop, in the Presidio of San Francisco.
"We are pleased and honored to host Davi Kopenawa in the Presidio," said Craig Middleton, Presidio Trust Executive Director. "This is a unique opportunity to hear first-hand about the important work that he and Survival International are doing to bring attention to the threats to the Yanomami and to the Amazon."
The Yanomami's story is featured in Crown Jewels: Five National Parks Around the World and the Challenges They Face, an exhibit currently on display in the Presidio Trust's headquarters. Prior to the talk, Dr. Randolph Delehanty, Curator of the Crown Jewels Exhibit, will be signing copies of a book that accompanies the exhibit. The book will also be available for purchase.
Inhabiting the rainforests and mountains of northern Brazil and southern Venezuela, the Yanomami are among the most isolated tribes on the planet. Road construction in the 1970s and gold mining in their territory in the 1980s led to the death of one fifth of Brazil's Yanomami through disease and violence. Kopenawa and Survival International led a successful international campaign culminating in the demarcation of the Yanomami Territory in 1992. Now, illegal mining and proposals to re-open the territory for large scale mining once again threaten the territory's environmental health, as well as the future of the Yanomami who reside there.
"Davi's visit to the USA comes at a pivotal time for Brazil's indigenous peoples as congress and government seek to weaken their hard won rights," said Fiona Watson. "As Brazil prepares to host the World Cup, it is crucial that the American people and supporters around the world rally behind indigenous peoples like Davi in their battle to protect the Amazon rainforest and its peoples."
Kopenawa is the founder of Hutukara, an association advocating for Yanomami land rights and education. He has received international awards for his leadership in indigenous rights and environmental stewardship, and met with such prominent figures as Al Gore, Prince Charles, David Beckham, and the former UN Secretary General, Javier Pérez de Cuéllar. Kopenawa's book, The Falling Sky: Words of a Yanomami Shaman, recounts his life story and the importance of shamanism to the Yanomami's way of life. Kopenawa will be signing copies of his book after the talk.
Watson has worked on numerous campaigns for indigenous peoples' rights, notably the Yanomami, Guarani, and Awá of Brazil, and the Bushmen ofthe Central Kalahari in Botswana. She has worked with Kopenawa since 1990 to establish and maintain Yanomami land rights. Watson will also translate for Kopenawa. Watson's research and photographs are featured in the Crown Jewels exhibit.
About Survival International
Survival International is a non-profit organization that champions tribal peoples around the world, helping them defend their lives, protect their lands and determine their own futures. They work to prevent the annihilation of tribal peoples by giving them a platform to speak to the world, investigating atrocities and presenting evidence to the United Nations and other international forums. They also support legal representation, fund medical and self-help projects, educate, research, campaign, lobby and protest. Survival International won't give up until we all have a world where tribal peoples are respected and their human rights protected.To learn more, visit www.survivalinternational.org.
About the Presidio Trust
The Presidio Trust, a federal agency, is an innovation in the management of a treasured American place. The Trust was created to save the Presidio and transform it for a new national purpose. The Trust's vision is that the Presidio will be forever a public place: vital to the Bay Area, important to all Americans, and recognized for achieving broad benefits for the nation. Today, the Presidio welcomes visitors, is home to a vibrant community of residents and tenants, and inspires greater good through programs that draw on its history and natural resources. The Presidio Trust serves the public with events, lodging, venues, and recreational opportunities. To learn more, visit www.presidio.gov.
About Crown Jewels
Open to the public: Wednesdays to Sundays, 11 am to 5 pm
Presidio Trust Headquarters, 103 Montgomery Street, Presidio
Explore the challenges and triumphs of national parks around the world through Crown Jewels, a new exhibit at the Presidio presented by the Presidio Trust. Crown Jewels showcases five international parks through the eyes of experts, each with a lifetime's work in that part of the world. Through narratives and striking photographs, learn about the challenges facing protected areas in Tibet, East Africa, Italy, Amazonia, and Australia. To learn more, visit: www.presidio.gov/crownjewels.