Amazon Leader Tashka Yawanaw√° Highlights Indigenous Issues at Global TED Talks

8 October 2014

As a boy, Tashka Yawanawá watched as the culture of his people was nearly wiped out by outsiders. Now, he is the chief of those people, the Yawanawá, of the Rio Gregório Indigenous Territory in the state of Acre, Brazil, and this week he was a speaker at one of the largest conferences in the world, TEDGlobal 2014.

Tashka joins the ranks of past TED speakers like Bill Gates and Jane Goodall. The motto of TED is "Ideas Worth Spreading," with participant speakers sharing ideas in short presentations of 18 minutes or less. The conference this year, which opened Oct. 6 and runs through Oct. 10, is called "South!", takes place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and features speakers and performers from all over the world, addressing a wide range of topics -- from heritage food, samba music and painting favelas to cancer detection.

Of the 65 speakers at the conference, he is the only indigenous person presenting. Wearing traditional headdress and jewelry made by members of his community, he opened his talk on Tuesday with a song, as is traditional in his community, and then told the story of his people.

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