I was deeply troubled to hear about the uncontacted Amazonian tribe members that were slaughtered by gold miners, in the Javari Valley of Brazil, last month.
Here’s what happened:
On September 10th, 2017, The New York Times reported that ten members (including women and children) of a previously uncontacted Amazonian tribe had been collecting eggs, from alongside the river bed, when they were disturbed by gold miners who set about hacking them to pieces and throwing them into the river.
How do they know this?
Well, apparently the gold miners were bragging about it in a bar and even had a handmade paddle, with them, that they had stolen from one of the slaughtered tribe members. Someone, in the bar overheard and recorded the conversation which was then later handed to the local authorities.
What happened next?
The Brazilian agency on indigenous affairs, Funai, made a formal complaint to the prosecutor’s office and Pablo Luz de Beltrand (the prosecutor in charge) reported that an investigation has begun.
The New York Times spoke to Sarah Shenker from the indigenous rights group Survival International who said: “If the investigation confirms the reports, it will be yet another genocidal massacre resulting directly from the Brazilian government’s failure to protect isolated tribes — something that is guaranteed in the Constitution,”
Brazil president, Michel Temer has come under a lot of critisism because he has slashed funding for indigenous groups which mean isolated tribes such a these are no longer protected to the extent they should be.
Unfortunately, this is just another tragedy of many, that can be directly linked to the gold industry and one of the reasons I am committed to bringing couples wedding rings that have been made with Fairtrade gold.
Fairtrade gold, a process that is heavily audited, ensures that no harm will come to the environment (which includes wildlife, humans and the surrounding nature) whilst the gold is being mined.
We can no longer continue to support such heinous crimes by turning a blind eye to where our jewellery has come from. I would advise that couples need to be asking questions about sustainability and traceability in order to protect vulnerable tribes such as these. You know you are on the right path when you see the Fairtrade sign or else look for the Fairtrade stamp inside the ring.
Buying an ethical wedding ring or engagement ring, that has been made with this Fairtrade gold can help prevent further massacres of remote tribes in the Amazon. Please choose wisely.
To show my support I have decided to donate £10 for each wedding ring I sell for the rest of the year to Survival International.
If you would like to know more and watch a short video about uncontacted tribes click here.