The shaman’s message: An urgent cry from the Amazon

The entire world knows by now how urgently the Amazon rainforest needs protection from the ravages of destruction, deforestation, Western invasion and settlement. One might say, from capitalism itself. And now from a pandemic against which the Indigenous peoples have little to no defense.

“The Shaman’s Message” is a short (just over two minutes), newly released video that is at the same time a beautiful work of art, a capsule analysis of the economics of the Amazon region, and a passionate appeal for attention. It can be viewed here. It is a human and ecological wake-up call no conscious citizen of the world should ignore. The health and fate of Planet Earth are at stake. Who will care?

The text is in Portuguese, but thanks to our contributor Peter Lownds’s accurate and poetic translation, we are offering this bilingual version for our readers to follow. We suggest you read this first, before viewing, by way of preparation, and then you may wish to view it again.

Ei! Olhe para mim

Hey! Look at me

Estamos vendo vocês

We’re looking at you

Nós tentamos te mostrar mas vocês nunca aprenderam nossa língua

We tried to show you, but you never learned our language

Vocês só olham para baixo

You’re always looking down

Estamos avisando vocês desde o começo:

We’ve been warning you since the beginning:

Essa terra é viva, essa terra nunca terá dono, porque nós somos a terra

This earth is alive, this earth cannot be owned, because we are the earth

Todos nós

All of us

Mas vocês queriam as pedras, o ouro, suas mercadorias

But you wanted the stones, the gold, your merchandise

Títulos, Bandeiras, Lucros

Titles, Flags, Profit

Vocês chamam isso de progresso

You call this progress

Tentamos te ensinar

We try to teach you

Mas vocês são gananciosos demais

But you are too greedy

primitivos demais

too primitive

selvagens demais

too savage

para entender

to understand

Ei! Agora vocês trazem outra doença para os Yanomami

Hey! Now you’re bringing the Yanomami another disease

E de novo estamos morrendo por causa disso

And once more we’re dying because of it

E as terras indígenas virando cinzas e lama

And the Indigenous lands turning to ashes and mud

Cinco séculos e vocês nunca enxergaram o que estamos mantendo no lugar o próprio céu

In five centuries you never noticed that we are the ones holding the sky in place

Suas cidades já podem ver, suas colheitas já podem ver, seus filhos já podem ver

Your cities notice it, your crops notice it, your children notice it

Dá para ver nos seus pulmões

Your lungs notice it too

Ei! Respira fundo, abra seus olhos e olha para cima!

Hey! Breathe deep, open your eyes and look up!

Você consegue ver?

What do you see? [A closeup of the shaman’s face]

Ajude o povo Yanomami sustentar o céu!

Help the Yanomami people hold up the sky!


Special to People’s World
Special to People’s World

People’s World is a voice for progressive change and socialism in the United States. It provides news and analysis of, by, and for the labor and democratic movements to our readers across the country and around the world. People’s World traces its lineage to the Daily Worker newspaper, founded by communists, socialists, union members, and other activists in Chicago in 1924.