Monday, June 17, 2024

Trudie Styler on the Death, from COVID-19, of Chief Aritana Yawalapiti, Influential Leader of Rainforest Preservation


Trudie Styler is an actress, activist, wife, mother, dare I say grandmother, producer, director, and friend.

As we all know is she– and Sting– are passionate about the preservation of the Rainforest in Brazil, aka “the heart of the world.”

Yesterday Trudie posted this announcement to Instagram. I asked her if I could repost it. The tragic death of Cacique Aritana Yawalapiti is another blow to the Rainforest and its indigenous peoples. Despite our own immediate and local problems, we can’t forget that those issues will be resolved but the Rainforest and the stability of the world will always continue and must be addressed.

Trudie didn’t include this in her post but I say here, you can donate the 30 year old, highly respected Rainforest Foundation Fund by clicking this link.

Trudie’s statement:

With a heavy heart, the Rainforest Fund brings you very sad news.

Chief Aritana Yawalapiti, who led the people of upper Xingu in central Brazil, died on Wednesday from COVID-19.

Cacique Aritana Yawalapiti will be remembered by all those who had the chance to meet him as an iconic chief of the people of the Upper Xingu region who dedicated his life to his community. He was one of the most influential leaders who helped create the Xingu Indigenous Reserve working with the Villas-Boas brothers, the first vast protected area in the Amazon.

We first met Aritana in his village in the Upper Xingu in 1988. He was always the most welcoming and gracious host and never short of a smile.

It was a time of heightened tension with all the indigenous people of the Xingu as they were opposing the building of the Belo Monte dam, and Aritana was at the forefront of the fight to protect their land and the integrity of their riverine life. He did this all his life from the inception of the Xingu Indigenous Reserve to the present crisis.

He spoke with great authority and calmness, marshalled his arguments with a politician’s finesse, and being from one of the smaller tribes he was adept at finding compromise within their sometimes fractious grouping. He could read people very well, and his combination of oratorical skills, dignity, personal charm and toughness were the perfect combination for a Xingu chief, where personal and inter-tribal rivalries were traditional.

A kind and warm-hearted man, he respected all sentient beings, and had begun to pass on his experience and guidance to his young son to become the next cacique.

We all feel so very sad for the Yawalapiti people, who were our first introduction to life in the rainforest and so hold a special place in our hearts. At this extraordinary time in the world, we are seeing the passing of a generation who straddled the old and the new; what will follow for the next generation will be very different.

Cacique Aritana will be sorely missed, and with his passing the tribal memory of the Yawalapiti and indeed Brazil is sadly depleted.
We hope his legacy will be the continued fight for the protection of his people, the Xingu

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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