Brazil: Indians Give up Land for Fear

    
Brazil: Indians Give up Land for Fear

    Close to 1000 farmers turned up at a protest armed and saying
    that they were ready to use force
    to throw the Kayapó off their
    land. Some days afterwards a bridge was set on fire. The
    Brazilian
    Minister of Justice, however, claims not to know
    anything about any threats made against the Kayapó.

    by:

    Cimi

     

    The regional Funai (National Indigenous Foundation) administrator in Colíder, Megaron Txukarramãe, has reported
    that the Kayapó indigenous people have been put under pressure and have suffered death threats to make them accept a
    reduction of 307,000 hectares in the Baú indigenous land, located near to the city of Novo Progresso in the south of Pará.

    The chief of the Baú reservation, Bep-Y, who has led the indigenous people in the negotiations, confirmed the claim
    made by Megaron. "We have suffered many threats. That is why we prefer to give up ground in the negotiations so that we
    may live in peace," he said.

    As an example of this pressure, on September 17 around 1000 farmers occupied the Santarém-Cuiabá Highway to
    protest against the demarcation of the indigenous people’s land. Demonstrators turned up at the protest armed and saying that
    they were ready to use force to throw the Kayapó off their land. Some days after the protest, a bridge on the road from Baú to
    Novo Progresso was set on fire.

    The Minister of Justice, through his special advisor for indigenous affairs, Cláudio Beirão, claims not to know
    anything about any threats made against the Kayapó. The president of Funai, Márcio Gomes, could not be found to comment on
    this issue. His advisor, Roberto Lustosa, said that he knew nothing of the threats.

    Meanwhile, Megaron, who accompanied the negotiations, says he has alerted Funai about the tense situation, "as
    well as the press (which reported the fact), I have also come to Brasília and told the President of Funai about the threats,"
    said the administrator of the official indigenous people’s organization.

    The deputy Zé Geraldo of the Workers’ Party of Pará State, who acted as intermediary on the side of the farmers in
    the talks with the Ministry of Justice and Funai, considers the negotiations concerning the Baú land as positive, and they
    could even be able to be used as a peaceful template for speeding up other demarcation processes in areas where there are still
    conflicts. "There is such a large wave of invasions taking place in that region, that Incra and Ibama are completely losing control.
    This is why I believe that negotiations of this type could be the solution," the deputy stated.

    The 6th Coordination and Review Chamber – Indigenous Communities and Minorities – of the Federal Public
    Prosecution Office is preparing a lawsuit to repeal the government order that reduces the area of the indigenous land. In the opinion
    of Ella Wiecko, public prosecutor at the
    6th Chamber, this deal must be considered null and void as it was imposed by one
    of the parties, "what took place was not a negotiation, as the proposal was imposed on the indigenous people."

    Human Rights Caravan

    Mid October the House of Deputies’ Human Rights Caravan was in the Caramuru-Catarina-Paraguassu area
    belonging to the Pataxó Hã-Hã-Hãe indigenous people, in the municipality of Pau Brasil, around 560 kilometers from Salvador.
    The aim of the visit was to see in loco the constantly publicized violent situation that confronts the Pataxó Hã-Hã-Hãe
    people in their fight to regain their territory.

    The Caravan visited the Mundo Novo region, where they could see the wretched conditions suffered by several
    indigenous families who have been living under plastic sheets since they were violently thrown off their lands, when their
    houses were destroyed and burnt by gunmen and farmers on July 12.

    At 6 p.m. the entourage returned to the city, where a public meeting was held in the square in front of the Municipal
    Chamber. During the public meeting the chiefs Gerson Melo, Marilene and Nailton Muniz spoke of the violence that the Pataxó
    Hã-Hã-Hãe people have been suffering over recent years. They spoke of the disrespect, prejudice, persecution, and death of
    their leaders. A report and a large dossier describing their situation were handed to the deputies in the Caravan.

    Haroldo Heleno from the Indianist Missionary Council spoke in the name of the support groups, emphasizing that
    peace is the fruit of justice. "There will be no peace for the Pataxó Hã-Hã-Hãe whilst they are not returned to their lands. The
    indigenous people want no more than their land back", he said.

    At the end of the meeting, the Caravan presented some guiding proposals. The deputies undertook to present a report
    of the visit to the Minister Nelson Jobim and the other ministers of the Federal Supreme Court, requesting urgency in
    judgment of the Annulment Suit; setting up a meeting with the National Public Security Department to ask for steps to be taken to
    bring an end to the violent situation which is, nowadays, to be found in the municipality of Pau Brasil, as well as meeting the
    president of Funai, in an attempt to speed up the actions that can answer the demands made by the indigenous communities during
    the meeting. The Commission pledged to keep a close watch on any events that may once again harm the indigenous
    communities.

    Several leaders accompanied the Caravan’s visit: the Pataxó from the far south, the Tupinambá from Olivença and
    Belmonte, as well as institutions that support the indigenous peoples’ cause and state deputies.

    The Caravan has already visited the Xavante people in Mato Grosso, the Cinta Larga people in Rondônia; and the
    Macuxi people in the Raposa/Serra do Sol region of Roraima. They also visited the Xukuru people, in Pernambuco, and the
    Kaingang and Guarani people, in Santa Catarina.

     

    Cimi is Brazil’s Indianist Missionary Council, an organization linked to CNBB, National Conference of
    Brazilian Bishops. You can get in touch with them by sending an email to
    cimi@embratel.net.br

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