Brasilia, 17 February 2000
Cimi - Indianist Missionary Council
Newsletter no. 398
INDIGENOUS PEOPLES: A SCENARIO OF STRUGGLES
There is no celebrating for the indigenous movement today.
centuries after the beginning of Brazilian colonization, indigenous peoples
and communities throughout the country face all sorts of violence in the
ongoing struggle for their rights and for demarcated and legally defined
territories free from encroachment. The actions are growing through the
re-occupation of lands, roadblocks, and campaigns demanding that the
demarcation processes be more expedient, so as to put an end to the state
In the state of Pernambuco, the Xukuru are still camped on
highway with the support of a significant portion of the Pesqueira
population, which has been maintaining the supply of free water drawn from
the reservoir located on indigenous land and also ensuring the free
circulation of milk trucks and settlers. On Friday, the eleventh, the water
truck drivers took their trucks to the town of Pesqueira and showed their
support for the Xukuru along with the popular and artistic movement.
The Federal Attorney General went on site to hear reports provided
indigenous people of illegal sales of indigenous lands and threats of
violence stemming from the roadblock. The farmers occupying the lands have
already attempted to open up the road through legal channels, but the
indigenous inhabitants refuse to leave until compensations are paid to bona
fide occupants and the invaders of the 27,555-hectare area are removed.
Concerned about the possibility of more violence in the region,
International decided to launch a campaign aimed at the authorities, in
which they request protection for Chief Marcos Luidson de Araujo and
Zenilda Araujo, son and widow of Chief Francisco Assis Araujo, (Xicão
Xukuru), assassinated in May of 1998.
In the state of Roraima, the Mucuxi, Wapixana, Taurepang, and
reactivated the roadblock on the road leading to the Soco, Agua Fria, and
Mutum mining villages as well as to the municipality of Uiramutã, all of
which are located within the Raposa/Serra do Sol indigenous land. The
roadblock had been set up in front of the Pedra Branca village starting in
January but was suspended during the Roraima Indigenous Council Assembly
(CIR), held on February 1-4, also the period of the festival for the
Uiramutã patron saint. The roadblock was once again established following
the assassination of a Tuxaua from the Soco village, Vitor Simão da Silva,
by his own 17-year-old nephew, who was drunk. The teenager had bought the
alcohol from a bar owner who obtained his liquor license from the local
authority. The sale of alcohol to Indians is prohibited by the Indigenous
The roadblock enabled CIR to restrict the entry and consumption
alcoholic beverages in the villages, while also controlling tourist and
politicians access. The entry of fuel and other materials used in illegal
mining were also restricted. The Tuxauas denounced the presence of at least
6 barges extracting minerals at the headwaters of the Kinô River.
In the state of Mato Grosso do Sul, the Guarani and Kaiová,
expelled from the Potrero Guasu Tekoha (traditional land), are slowly
returning to rebuild their devastated land. They informed the authorities
of gun shots fired at night that were meant to intimidate them. The farmers
pressed to put an end to the demarcation procedures and were thus able to
ensure the participation of one representative in the Permanent Working
Group studying the extension of indigenous lands within the State.
In southern Bahia, the military police continued its irregular
of the Pataxó Hã-Hã-Hãe Indigenous Land, keeping the indigenous inhabitants
besieged in their own land since November of last year. According to the
local press, the military police have almost concluded the inquiry into the
death of two military personnel on November 16th, pointing to the
Indigenous inhabitants as main suspects. The Pataxó Hã-Hã-Hãe have
denounced the abuse of authority by the military personnel, who search and
control the people entering the area as well as seizing indigenous fishing
This week, a group of civil, religious, union, and progressive
parliamentary bodies launched a manifesto in support of the indigenous
people requesting that the military police be withdrawn immediately and
that the Federal Government adopt administrative measures to protect the
indigenous people and their lands and belongings. They also requested a
decision by the Supreme Federal Tribunal on the judgement of the Suit for
the Annulment of Deeds for the annulment of land claims made by 396
invaders throughout the 54 thousand hectares to which the Pataxó Hã-Hã-Hãe
are legally entitled.
In the southern tip of the State, the Pataxó have suffer
pressures from the Federal Government, which wishes to see them leave Monte
Pascoal, reoccupied ever since August 19th, 1999. Thus, the Federal
Government intends to free up the land for the "discovery celebrations".
The Administration of the Monte Pascoal National Park proposed an agreement
and delivered it to the communities last week. In this proposal, the
Federal Government "conceded" to allow the "partnership" with the
indigenous people in a certain "Provisional Council" for managing the Park,
as long as they are accompanied by representatives of the Brazilian
Institute for the Environment, Natural Resources, and Water Resources
(IBAMA), FUNAI, local authorities from three neighboring towns, the
Ministry of the Environment, and civil society organizations.
The agreement is an affront to the indigenous peoples, since
it does not
acknowledge their right to the demarcation of Monte Pascoal as indigenous
territory. In order to convince them more quickly, the proposal alluded to
the possibility of disbursing more financial resources for "development
projects". It also ensures the reinstatement of the Working Group
(suspended last year), which sets up the land and anthropological survey
aiming to prove that Monte Pascoal is Pataxó land. The agreement proposed
this week was presented in August, 1999 by the Director of Funai Land
Affairs at the time, Aureo Faleiros. The difference is that Faleiros
demanded the departure of the indigenous inhabitants as a condition for
Cimi is fully aware that the indigenous peoples throughout
the regions are
certain that only their actions will ensure the conquest of their lands. No
celebration can hide this fact. This country's history is not merely five
hundred years old. What began 500 years ago was the resistance.
Brasilia, 17 February 2000
Cimi - Indianist Missionary Council
Distribuido por: Distributed by:
'AMAZON ALLIANCE' FOR INDIGENOUS AND
TRADITIONAL PEOPLES OF THE AMAZON BASIN
1367 Connecticut Ave. NW, Suite 400
Washington, DC 20036-1860
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La Alianza Amazónica para los Pueblos Indígenas
y Tradicionales de la
Cuenca Amazónica es una iniciativa nacida de la alianza entre los pueblos
indígenas y tradicionales de la Amazonía y grupos e individuos que
comparten sus preocupaciones por el futuro de la Amazonía y sus pueblos.
Las ochenta organizaciones del norte y del sur activas en la Alianza
Amazónica creen que el futuro de la Amazonía depende de sus pueblos y el
estado de su medio ambiente.
The Amazon Alliance for Indigenous and Traditional Peoples
of the Amazon
Basin is an initiative born out of the partnership between indigenous and
traditional peoples of the Amazon and groups and individuals who share
their concerns for the future of the Amazon and its peoples. The eighty
non-governmental organizations from the North and South active in the
Alliance believe that the future of the Amazon depends on its peoples and
the state of their environment.
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