This instrumental song is inspired by a Brasilian Indian tribe called "Kaiowas", who live in the rain forest. They committed mass suicide as a protest against the government, who was trying to take away their land and beliefs.
We can’t check the accuracy of this event as it is stated in this album, but it’s true that this tribe has the highest rate of suicides among all the displaced indigenous people in Amazon basin, especially in the period this instrumental song has been released (see bar chart below, click on it to enlarge).Also, being always in despair, these rainforest people have used occasionally the threat of mass suicide as mean of non-violent form of political pressure in order to save their culture and their lands. Let’s see some facts about this pround tribe:
Guarani-Kaiowá are an indigenous people of the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso do Sul. They inhabit an area of tropical rainforest. This was declared a reservation in October 2004. Marcos Verón, a leader of this people was beaten to death in 2003.
The Guarani sub-groups have different ways of social organisation, but they share a religion which sees the land as very important. When invaders occupy the Guarani land, the Guarani feel as if their religion is offended, and when they lose their land to intruders they have too little land to sustain their traditional life, based on fishing hunting and farming.
….Today their land is stolen by loggers and miners. The Guarani are forced to leave their land and seek work on plantations, where they work as underpaid labourers. The Guarani of Mato Grosso do Sul are desperately campaigning to protect their land which is crucial for their survival.
Survival-International: Guarani Suicide Epidemic
Despair decimates the Guarani population
Once 1.5 million Guarani occupied a homeland of forests and plains totalling some 135,000 square miles in four South American countries. Today the 30,000 in Brazil are squeezed onto tiny patches of land surrounded by cattle ranches and vast fields of soya and sugar cane. For a people with such a strong emotional connection to the land, this has been incredibly traumatic: the Guarani in Brazil now suffer an epidemic of suicides unequalled in South America.
In the 15 years to 2000, over 300 Guarani killed themselves, mostly children and young adults. The youngest was Luciane Ortiz, aged just nine. For such a profoundly spiritual people, the theft and destruction of their land has been overwhelming.
'The Guarani are committing suicide because we have no land. We don't have space any more. In the old days, we were free, now we are no longer free. So our young people look around them and think there is nothing left and wonder how they can live. They sit down and think, they forget, they lose themselves and then commit suicide.'
Rosalino Ortiz, Guarani woman
'Suicides occur among young people because they are nostalgic for the past. Young people are nostalgic for the beautiful forests, they want to eat fruits from the forest, they want to go out and find honey, they want to use natural remedies from the forest. In Dourados where there have been most suicides a young person told me he didn't want to live anymore because there was no reason to carry on living - there is no hunting, no fishing, and the water is polluted.'
Amilton Lopes, Guarani man
Despair and Suicide
Perhaps the starkest example of the crisis of Indian lands in Brazil is the case of the Guarani-Kaiowa territory in the southern state of Mato Grosso do Sul, where over the past decade, over 300 Indians have taken their own lives in despair. Poverty, expulsion from traditional territories in recurrent disputes with wealthy ranchers, and the overpopulation of the remaining lands are the main factors leading this unique people to slow extinction. Today, over 22,500 Guarani-Kaiowas are pressed into a fraction of their original territory . 22 recognized areas near Dourados, a city on the Paraguayan border. In one village called Bororo, 3,700 are packed into 3,600 hectares, a veritable death sentence for a people accustomed to utilizing vast expanses of land for their sustenance.
The Associated Press (08-26-1998)
BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) _ Members of an Indian group in Brazil are threatening to commit mass suicide if authorities evict them from what they claim is their ancestral land, an Indian rights group said Wednesday.
About 100 Guarani-Kaiowa Indians occupied a ranch Tuesday in southwestern Mato Grosso do Sul State, 1,115 miles southwest of Brasilia, the capital. They say they will take their own lives if authorities try to dislodge them.
``Suicide has always been an option of the Guarani-Kaiowas,'' said Nereu Schnaider, of the Indian Missionary Council. ``They say the land belongs to them because their ancestors once occupied it.''
The 27,000-member tribe, one of the largest in Brazil, once held 40 percent
of Mato Grosso do Sul state. Today they occupy just 1 percent of the
Guarani Kaiowa – Malnutrition is killing indigenous children
For this people, the land where they live – the Tekohá – means “the place where we realize our way of being”, a social political space. In the early 20th century the Guarani-Kaiowás were enclosed in very small demarcated indigenous lands. Until the 70´s they were able to migrate to and find refuge in non-occupied lands. But with the progressive occupation of large extensions of the land in the region, including river banks, with the capital intensive production of soy beans, this space was progressively reduced. Since then, more and more indigenous families were forced into the limited demarcated land, seriously reducing their capacity to provide for themselves in terms of food, clean water, fuel for food production, medicinal herbs and increasingly worse sanitation conditions. In the 90`s a severe increase in the rate of suicides was observed as well as those of alcoholism.
In 2007, 76 indigenous people were assassinated in Brazil, out of them 48 were Guarani Kaiowas from Mato Grosso do Sul. Since 2005, 53 Guarani-Kaiowá children died of malnutrition, and presently there at least 600 others who present signs of malnutrition. The homicides, suicides, alcoholism, and malnutrition deaths are strongly linked to the limited extensions of land presently occupied by the Guaranis in Mato Grosso do Sul, and to their struggle against it.
Ιndians Invade Brazilian Ranches
Tuesday, 30 of December 2003
Thousands of indigenous Indians have invaded several farms close to Brazil's border with Paraguay in an attempt to reclaim ancestral land. Brazilian police said the members of the Guarani and Kaiowa peoples appeared with painted faces and bearing traditional weapons.
Brazil's National Indian Foundation (Funai) says all the ranches are in an area covering traditional lands belonging to the two closely related tribes. The Indians have long been at odds with farmers who have moved into the area and now use the land for large-scale cattle-ranching.
Two great live performances of “Kaiowas” by Sepultura in Youtube: