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Cries from Our Forests — Listening to Cristiane Julião Pankararu

By Cyndi Fontyn

“Nature will continue living without us. Can we live without nature though?” — Cristiane Julião Pankararu.

Cristiane is part of the Indigenous Pankararu people from the Pankararu Indigenous Land located in the Pernambuco state in northeast Brazil. She graduated in Geography from the Centro de Ensino Superior do Vale do São Francisco, in Pernambuco. She has a Master’s degree and is a doctoral candidate in Social Anthropology at the National Museum of Rio de Janeiro, where she researches national and international Indigenous legal Anthropology.

Cristiane is also a member of the Articulation of Indigenous Peoples and Organizations of the Northeast, Minas Gerais and Espirito Santo (APOINME), and the Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (APIB). She is Co-founder of the National Articulation of Indigenous Women Warriors of Ancestrality (ANMIGA) and she also represents the National Council on Indigenous Policy (CNPI) in the Council for the Management of Genetic Heritage (CGen) and the Sectorial Chamber of Indigenous Peoples, Traditional Peoples and Communities and Family Farmers (Chamber of Guardians).

Image credit: Alice Eady.
Cristiane (centred) featured with Agnes Leina (left) and Chief Ninawa Huni Kui (right).

Recently, at COP26 in Glasgow, UK, Cristiane was invited to participate at the Real World Leaders on Climate session organized by Lily Cole, Flourishing Diversity and Goals House.

In response to Farhana Yamin’s question: “What is the one thing you want to see the COP do?”, Cristiane had this to say:

“We the Indigenous women of Brazil, our work is very much based on our life philosophy, which is to reforest minds. In the literal sense, as well as an analogy. To reforest our thoughts, but also to reforest our feelings, our affections, and our way of nurturing and caring for each other and especially reforesting our actions.

I believe that COP26 is in fact calling for this unification of our actions. I believe that we speak a lot but we act very little.

What we are sharing is our reality: it is a reality that is also filled with a pain: a pain of knowing hunger, a pain of knowing the lack of resources and the pain of knowing the lack of water…. We are trying to warn you what the lack of our fundamental needs might generate in the world.”

Follow Cristiane Julião Pankararu on Instagram.
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Main image from Revista Continente.

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