As wildfires continues to rage through the Amazon rainforest for several weeks already, indigenous tribes, once at war with each other, have united to take a stand against the Brazilian government over the deforestation of indigenous land.

Amid worldwide concerns of the Brazilian government’s part in the fires, the tribes met to discuss the government’s plans to authorize leasing and mining on their lands, their concerns regarding prospectors and loggers invading their territories and pesticide contamination of their main water sources.

Representatives of 14 indigenous ethnic groups in the Xingu basin attended the meeting in Kubenkokre village of the Terra Indigena Menkragnoti.

One of the last reserved sections of the Amazon, this is an enormous part of the forest and of which almost 69,000 hectares have been lost to fires from January to June this year, according to BBC News Brazil.

Their manifesto confirms that the indigenous people see it as their duty to protect the forest and acknowledge its importance as part of the world’s climate balance.

They wrote: “We are responsible for protecting the Xingu forest, which benefits the entire region and the residents of large cities, contributing to the essential climate balance for the country and the world.

“We want recognition and respect for our ways of life and also participate in decisions about the future of Brazil. We demand to be heard, especially about what affects us, as guaranteed by ILO Convention 169, which is law in Brazil.

“We will never stop being the people of Xingu, we will never leave our lands, we want to leave them to our children and grandchildren. Xingu is one.”

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