Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro promised the Yanomami Indigenous peoples he would respect their wishes to keep mining out of their reservation in the Amazon, though he still plans to use other Indigenous lands for commercial agriculture and mining.
In a video released late on Sunday, the former Army captain is seen talking to Indigenous leaders in Maturacá, an Amazon village at the western end of the Yanomami reservation.
The group, the largest of South America’s tribes that remain relatively isolated from the outside world, asked the right-wing president to protect their lands from mining, particularly from illegal diggers.
“If you do not want mining, there will be no mining. There are indigenous brothers in other places, inside and outside the Amazon that do want mining, that want to cultivate the land, and we are going to respect their wishes,” Bolsonaro said in the video.
Bolsonaro’s remarks come amid allegations that the tribe’s lands are being seized while they themselves have come under attack from illegal miners, known locally as garimpeiros.
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