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Project Mejkangati: and how an indigenous group in the Amazon is fighting to protect bees

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Since the beginning of the year, the Brazilian government has granted the registration of 382 pesticides in addition to all harms to the health of humans and the environment, is killing millions of bees in Brazil. Fipronil-based products used mainly for planting soy are particularly dangerous to bees, and soybeans illegally occupy over 50,000 hectares of deforested Amazonian forest! The Kayapó (or Mẽbêngôkre, as they call themselves) of the Môjkàràkô village located in Pará, the heart of the Amazon, have gone the other way and are investing in the eco-sustainable production of honey and safeguarding amazonian bees.

I had the opportunity to talk to Ana Rosa de Lima, who is coordinating Project Mejkangati’s online campaign.

Mejkangati, is the name of a native bee from the Amazon region that produces a special honey that is much appreciated by the indigenous people of the region, because of all the damage that corporations and plantations have done to the environment these Amazonian bees are in danger.

Bepunu Kayapó, is an indigenous activist and he realised that their traditional way of looking for honey in the wild and cutting the hive straight from the tree was not sustainable as often the hive did not survive this process and eventually died.

In partnership with the federal institute of the state of Pará, the indigenous people began to articulate this meliponiculture project, which unlike traditional beekeeping does not require all of the traditional protective equipment, as Mejkangati, like most Amazon bees, has no sting. According to Ana Rosa, the Kayapó people have their own taxonomic methodology for bees, and they know which one produces the most delicious honey.

The project is running out of time to raise funds on the Internet through a CATARSE campaign, these funds will be used to fund the transport of Bepunu and other indigenous to the Federal Institute of Pará, Môjkàràkô is far away and the trip to the institute will need be done in stages, which involve a 1-day boat trip from the village to the nearest town, and then another 400 km of road will have to be covered. In addition to the financing of a workshop on Stingless Bee Farming in Marabá and the Indians’ stay to participate in it, as well as visits from the experts to the village and the acquisition of materials for beekeeping.

Apenã

Apenã, means “tomorrow” in the language of an indigenous people who lived near a city where Ana Rosa lived, and is also the name of her podcast, where she very sensitively talks about environmental issues, indigenous resistance and especially the love you feel for the Amazon region.

Supporting projects that benefit the sustainable development of indigenous communities is more than necessary, especially at such a difficult time where Brazil is being governed by a president who has officially declared war on indigenous peoples and the environment. During his speech at the UN General Assembly, Bolsonaro compared indigenous peoples to “cavemen” and mistakenly blamed them for the fires that ravaged the region. The speech was repudiated by various indigenous organizations and groups throughout Brazil.

Links:

Project Mejkangati fundraising: https://www.catarse.me/melindigena

Apenã podcast: https://m.soundcloud.com/apenan/apena-especial-projeto-mejkangati-mel-indigena

Bolsonaro Delivers Racist and Untruthful Speech to U.N. General Assembly: https://amazonwatch.org/news/2019/0924-statement-bolsonaro-delivers-racist-and-untruthful-speech-to-un-general-assembly

 

 

 

 

By Nathália Urban

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