Once again, the Guarani Kaiowá who live in the Nhanderu Marangatu indigenous land region in the municipality of Antonio João, in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil, are being threatened with eviction from their lands.
This results from compliance with a land rights order for the area repossessed in 2004. The area lies inside the territory, which was recognized by Funai (Fundação Nacional do índio – National Indian Foundation) in 1999 and was demarcated as indigenous land in October 2004.
On January 7, the Guarani Kaiowá released a document stating that they intend to remain on and defend their repossessed lands, which are now being cultivated.
“From 1998, we waited in a small area of 26 hectares (…) until, at the end of last year, we moved into this small piece of land which is also ours. We have occupied and planted on this land.
“We have not planted soy, because indigenous people have never eaten soy. We have planted manioc, beans, corn, potatoes, rice and bananas. Each family has planted on its own land.
“We made a lot of sacrifices to get the seeds and we have planted them. The corn has already grown, the manioc has already grown.”
In the document, the indigenous people expressed their concern when they found out about the court order.
“The Federal Police are going to evict us. It will happen next week. Before they do this, it would be good if the press could film here and show just how beautiful our plantation is.
“They want us to return to our old 26-hectare area. They say that the police will come with tractors and destroy everything. We want to know who is going to feed our children. Are the farmers going to send us food baskets in trucks? Will our children be undernourished?”
Finally, the people promised to resist eviction, “we want to warn the police that we will not leave here. We really won’t. The farmers have already got rich at our expense. They have been here for 50 years.
“They have made a lot of money out of us. Now, we want our land back. We want to be able to work. Things cannot continue the way they are. We want to work, to work on our land.”
A TV station in Mato Grosso do Sul has reported that the police would clear out the area, which was occupied by the indigenous people three months ago.
This was denied by the Communications Department of the Federal Police (FP) administration in Mato Grosso do Sul.
According to the press officer, a team, consisting of a police chief and two officers, has been to the region to study the situation with the aim of preparing a plan to comply with the land rights order.
“The team went to study how many indigenous people there are in the area, how many men and vehicles will be necessary and which forces will help to clear the area.”
The press officer also said that the Federal Police often asked for help from the Fire Service and the Military Police and that it uses trucks to move indigenous people. The study should be concluded in 15 to 20 days.
Cimi ”“ Indianist Missionary Council