There is shamefully little discussion of causation in all this. It’s not as if somehow we don’t know or just can’t seem to figure out where the responsibility lies. That isn’t it at all. The problem stems from a widespread unwillingness to be vocally critical of the inherently-flawed reigning systems. It’s easy to decry the brutal crux of a conflict, but what of its architects?
I’m talking about more than just “loggers are pillaging the forest.” Why are loggers despoiling protected space? Why are they allowed to? What is motivating the players here? For the Awá, at least, it’s really quite simple: they are threatened because the nation in which they have the misfortune of living currently adheres to dominant notions of unyielding “progress” and “success.”
These notions are prevailing global norms.
Brazil’s conception of modernity is but a carbon copy of the blueprint relied on by every “modern” state in building the world that exists today. Most nations have done, or will soon attempt to do, exactly this to their native peoples, endemic flora and fauna, traditional wisdom, and so on.
Unless vigilance is a prolonged priority, and unless we vow to do more than bandage the wound, this will unfold just as it has for centuries. Only now, with our “effectiveness” at its zenith, the proverbial “no going back” may start to feel more and more like a tangible reality.
“They can go away to the city, but we Indians live in the forest. They are going to kill everything. Everything is dying.”