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Brazil: Farmers and Indians Dispute Land


Brazil: Farmers and Indians Dispute Land

The visit to the disputed area was of fundamental importance
so that it became clear to the
Caravan, the level of racism and
hatred directed towards the indigenous people. Representatives
of
the agriculturists wanted an explanation for the visit and
shouted:. "They should not be dancing on
our lands."

by:

Cimi

 

The 5th House of Deputies’ Human Rights Caravan ended on October 17, in Western Santa Catarina, having
visited indigenous lands in Pernambuco, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Rondônia, Roraima and Bahia. The objective of
the Caravan was to analyze the situation of the more highly-disputed indigenous lands in the country and to present a report
of their findings at the end of November.

In the morning of October 17, the Commission visited the Guarani do Araça’í encampment, which is situated in the
Toldo Chimbangue indigenous land, and the Kaingang people, in Chapecó. In the encampment, which occupies around 8
hectares, the deputies were able to watch some rituals. which were held in the prayer-house and coordinated by the shaman,
Clementino. At the age of 92, the shaman said that he wanted to see his lands demarcated, so that his children and grandchildren
could live in dignity.

João Barbosa, chief of the Guarani do Araça’í, told the history of his people, when they were expelled by
colonizing companies, their exile in land belonging to the Kaingang people and also the moment, when for the second time, they
were displaced from their lands in October 2000 as a result of a court order.

Deputy Orlando Fantazzini, president of the Human Rights Commission, concerned about this situation, said "we
cannot allow you to remain here for very long, we will take this matter back so that the institutions responsible can sort it out as
quickly as possible".

In the afternoon, the Caravan went, together with the Guarani, Cimi (Indianist Missionary Council), the Attorney
General of Brazil, Funai and Kaingang leaders to the land claimed by the Guarani, in the municipalities of Saudades and Cunha
Porá. The work of identifying and delimiting the area was finished off by Funai, leaving only the recognition of the 2,721
hectares identified by the Technical Group to be published.

The visit to the disputed area was of fundamental importance so that it became clear to the Caravan, the level of
racism and hatred directed towards the indigenous people. The Commission was surrounded by "representatives" of the
agriculturists asking for an explanation of the reasons for the visit. "There have never been any indigenous people here, and
they should not be dancing on our lands", said the most exalted.

After some tense moments, and with the intervention of the Federal Police, the Caravan headed for the city of
Chapecó where a Public Meeting was held attended by the indigenous communities from the region and some representatives
from sectors opposed to the indigenous people. The mobilization against demarcation and guaranteeing the rights of the
indigenous people left the Commission perplexed.

"What we have witnessed here, cannot be compared to anything we have seen anywhere else we have been,
somebody has to sort things out", said Fantazzini.

For the Guarani, the visit of the members of parliament, gave their people the opportunity to walk on their
"motherland", a holy place from which they have twice been expelled.

 

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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