Brazil’s Yanomami leader asks the Pope to support President Lula in reversing damage to the Amazon

By Nicole Winfield
April 11, 2024

Pope Francis met Wednesday with a leader of Brazil's Yanomami people, who asked for papal backing for President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva 's efforts to reverse decades of exploitation of the Amazon and better protect its Indigenous peoples.

Davi Kopenawa, a Yanomami shaman, said he came to the Vatican at Francis' invitation to brief him on the plight of the Yanomami and the Amazon, where deforestation surged to a 15-year high during the previous administration of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro. The Yanomami Indigenous Territory, Brazil's largest, was ravaged by thousands of illegal gold miners spurred on by Bolsonaro. They felled trees and poisoned waterways with mercury.

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