“Kayapo Courage”


During the month of December, my wife and I renewed  the National Geographic  Magazine.  It is one of those magazines that has been around longer than we have.

During the years of subscribing to it, I have seldom read the articles. Not only because the pictures capture my attention, but because the prose never engaged me. Not so with at least one article in the January 2014 edition.

Everyone should read “Kayapo Courage.” We found it captivating. It even employed our highlighters.

Kayapo, an Amazon tribe in  northern Brazil, is an endangered species. All because “civilization” wants to dam their river and take the wood from their forests.

I think of us, you and I, as representing the civilized world. Standing by, we are indirectly  destroying for profit their habitat. By us only watching what happens to the Kayapo, we should be held accountable for our inaction, but we are not.

We know our ancestors kicked out the American Indians from what was rightfully theirs. How then, some wonder, can we throw stones at other countries still doing it now. Aren’t we a pot calling the kettle black?

Life is complicated, or so we seem to make it.  Having had the American Indian experience in North America, why can’t we, rather than projecting our guilt for the benefit of the oppressor, help the Kayapo out? As with the elephants, I don’t have an answer.

I guess, for now, my wife and I are just going to write small checks. We do so for the elephants, and as soon as we find out how to do so for the Kayapo, we will.

In the end, how can $50 or$100 a year be of much help? This is my human dilemma. How can we do better at helping those who are oppressed? Aren’t we all sharing a common place?

6 thoughts on ““Kayapo Courage”

  1. Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist December 28, 2013 / 5:46 pm

    I think we are not throwing stones at other countries but more that we have learnt from our ancestor’s past actions. Our ancestors cannot be blamed as they did things appropriate to the world in which they came and from the views of the times. Those same ancestors would probably have do things differently if they came in the current time period. Having learnt though, I think, it is appropriate to try to prevent these things happening. Being a country from the developing world these activities (logging, damming the rivers etc) are seen as an economic necessity. Somehow we have to provide the income required by other means which requires these facilities to be left intact. The answer: I wish I knew but I’m sure you’re cheques will help and lobbying the developed world to take action, if enough of us did it, may also help.

  2. New Hampshire Garden Solutions December 28, 2013 / 6:53 pm

    I worry about the rainforests. Not just the people but the plants as well. There could easily be cures for many of the diseases that plague us there.

    $50 or $100 might not seem like much but when a million others give the same it means a lot. One day the cashier at a local drugstore asked me if I wanted to donate my change. I said yes, but told her I feared that my few cents wasn’t going to make a big difference in anyone’s life. She told me that, just from people donating their coins at the register, they collect millions for charity each year.

  3. Carole Webber December 29, 2013 / 7:07 am

    Writing a check for these causes makes us feel better, it is the easiest and probably the only thing most of us can do. We ned to pick our cause and not get caught up in many of them. With one or two concerns we can direct our energy to them and be more effective. I try to determine how much of my donation is directed towards the cause and what percentage is allotted to administrative costs.

    • fictionfitz December 29, 2013 / 7:45 am

      Good common sense.

Comments are closed.