Brazil: Indians Demand a Piece of Land


Brazil: Indians Demand a Piece of Land

In Mato Grosso do Sul, a state where around 30,000 Guarani-Kaiowá
live, there are more than
40 indigenous lands in an irregular
situation. Violence, prejudice, assassination and other crimes

are often perpetrated against the indigenous people by
landholders and politicians opposed to the
Indian presence.

by:
Cimi

 

A delegation made up of 39 leaders of the Guarani-Kaiowá people was in Brasília to demand that Funai (Fundação
Nacional do Índio—National Indian Foundation), the Public Prosecutor’s Office and the Ministry of Justice take urgent steps
concerning the lands that have no markings to indicate their status. Around 80 percent of the lands in the Guarani-Kaiowá
areas, which are in dispute in Mato Grosso do Sul, were represented by this delegation.

The leaders met with the president of Funai, the Public Prosecutor’s Office and with the Department of Land Issues
(DAF) of the indigenous people’s organization. According to Amilton Lopes Kaiowá, they are returning to their areas with
positive results. After this visit, the situation will tend to improve.

"DAF has still to set up Technical Groups to carry out an analysis of the lands in the three areas. The Public
Prosecutor’s Office is going to talk to the organizations responsible for sorting out our problems and the president of Funai has said
that he will do whatever is necessary to speed the processes up. Based on this, we believe that we are going to see some
better actions. Our coming here is going to improve our situation", he said.

The delegation also met with Augustino Pedro, legal counsel to the House of Deputies Human Rights Committee.
They made out reports on cases of torture, sexual abuse and homicides committed by gunmen. They remembered the
assassination of the chief Marcos Veron, who was beaten to death on 13 January, and of other leaders who were assassinated in the
fight for the land.

Pedro promised to forward the reports of violence to the Human Rights Committee, so that it could follow them up
and guarantee that the Federal Police does its job in investigating the cases. Antônio Gomes, the Guarani-Kaiowá leader,
believes that as a consequence of this visit to the Committee, it will be possible "to take a sign of hope to the community,
bringing the violence to an end".

In Mato Grosso do Sul, a state where around 30,000 Guarani-Kaiowá live, there are more than 40 indigenous lands
in an irregular situation. Violence, prejudice, assassination and other crimes are often perpetrated against the indigenous
people, mainly against the Guarani-Kaiowá, because of the attacks by the landholders and politicians who are opposed to the
indigenous people in the state.

Amongst the disputed lands, it is worth highlighting Sucuriy, in Maracaju, around 200 kilometers from Campo
Grande. There, more than 200 families have been trying to survive in an area of 64 hectares, as a result of an agreement drawn
up by the Public Prosecutor’s Office involving landowners and indigenous people.

The agreement makes the withdrawal of the invaders conditional on the closure of the declaratory process which
ends with the registration of the land at the Federal Assets Department (SPU). The land covers 535 hectares, and was ratified
and registered at the Real Estate Registration Office, in 1998, leaving only the registration at the SPU to be done. Five years
later, the indigenous people continue confined to an area which does not offer even the minimum conditions necessary for
subsistence.

 

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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