Indigenous leader Célia Xakriabá and Vagina Monologues author V discuss Brazil’s biodiversity crisis and why this is the century of the indigenous woman
Célia Xakriabá is the voice of a new generation of female indigenous leaders who are leading the fight against the destruction of Brazil’s forests both in the Amazon and the lesser known Cerrado, a savannah that covers a fifth of the country. V, formerly Eve Ensler, is the award-winning author of the Vagina Monologues, an activist and founder of V-Day, a global movement to end violence against all women and girls and the Earth. The two recently held a conversation in which V asked Xakriabá about what is happening to Brazil’s biodiversity and indigenous peoples, and why women are the key to change.
V: Many people, especially in the west, don’t really understand what’s happening to the Cerrado in Brazil. Can you tell us what’s happening to the forests?
C: It’s very tough at this moment. Every minute one person dies of Covid-19, but also every minute one tree is cut. And whenever a tree is cut, a part of us is cut, a part of us also dies, because the territory dies and with no territory there is no air, no good air for everyone in the world. People can’t breathe. So all this Covid contamination, it gets to the territory through the miners, the gold miners, the loggers and the rangers. And now that we are getting to August, we get even more worried about the fires, all the fires that burned the Amazon last year. It’s going to come back.