Brazilian Pataxí³ Indians Go to Brasí­lia to Get Lands Back

    Pataxó Indian from Bahia, in the Brazilian Northeast

    Pataxó Indian from Bahia, in the Brazilian Northeast A group of 15 Pataxó Hã-Hã-Hãe went to Brazil's capital BrasÀ­lia seeking a solution to legal proceedings that affect their lands. Legal decisions have forced the Hã-Hã-Hãe to leave areas they reoccupied in their traditional territory.

    These lands are located in the south region of the state of Bahia and have been invaded by farmers. The lack of a final solution has been creating conflicts in the region, such as one in which a Pataxó Indian was shot late January.

    The group met with the chief justice of the federal court of appeals of the 1st region, justice Assusete Magalhães, to discuss a lawsuit for suspending preliminary orders issued in connection with three farms which were reoccupied in December (Califórnia, Bonanza and Ibirapitanga).

    They have a deadline to leave those areas. The indigenous leaders say, however,  that confrontations could occur with fatal consequences if the preliminary order is enforced within this deadline.

    The Pataxó Hã-Hã-Hãe will ask the justice to suspend the preliminary orders until the Supreme Court (STF) judges a lawsuit requesting the annulment of title deeds issued to farmers who have occupied their land. The Federal Prosecutor's Office has already issued an opinion in favor of suspending the preliminary orders.

    The Pataxó Hã-Hã-Hãe also met with the Federal Attorney General, ílvaro Ribeiro, to discuss the lawsuit for nullifying the title deeds mentioned above, which was referred to the Supreme Court 25 years ago.

    All that is left now is for associate judge Eros Grao, the rapporteur of the proceedings, to take a position in relation to the lawsuit.

    The group had a meeting with the acting president of the National Foundation for Indigenous People (Funai) and advisors of the agency to request them to take measures in relation to the situation in the area in question.

    The land of the Pataxó Hã-Hã-Hãe people was demarcated in 1937 by the Protection Service for Indigenous People (SPI), which was the official indigenous agency back then.

    In the 1940s, the same SPI began to lease these indigenous lands illegally and in 1976 the government of the state of Bahia issued title deeds to these lands to farmers.

    In 1982, the Pataxó organized themselves and began to reoccupy their invaded lands. In the same year, Funai asked the Supreme Court (STF) to annul the title deeds issued by the state of Bahia.

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