Tribals in danger

Miners have once again encroached upon the land allotted to the Yanomami, South America's largest surviving tribe of forest Indians.

The miners have been ordered on three previous occasions to get out of the Yanomami reservation, even though Brazilian president Fernando Collor de Mellor's orders to evacuate miners from the area, are proving expensive. And, the miners keep returning in any case because they do not have an alternative livelihood. Last November, miners poured in from all over Brazil as a new gold boom got under way and land prices tripled.

Now most people argue the Yanomami must change their ways -- by either persuasion or force -- or perish. However, it will not be easy as few Indians can even speak rudimentary Portuguese.

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