Amongst the 52 Brazilian women nominated for the “1000 Women For the Nobel Peace Prize 2005” Project, four indigenous women were included: Maninha Xukuru-Kariri, Joênia Batista de Carvalho, Zenilda Xukuru and Eliane Potiguara.
Ever since the Nobel Peace Prize was created, in 1901, only 12 women have received the award. The project aims to get recognition for women who have, in various fields, fought for peace.
In Brazil, the Program Committee received 262 suggestions. Based on the history, the vision, the working method and the strategies reported by each of the 1000 women who have been selected from 150 countries, a book will be published.
Nominees include Joênia Batista de Carvalho of the Wapichana people. She lives in Roraima, and is a lawyer working with the Indigenous Council of Roraima (CIR).
Another nominee is Maninha Xukuru-Kariri, who has been part of the Association of Indigenous Peoples of the Northeast, Minas Gerais and Espírito Santo (Apoinme) since it was set up 15 years ago. She was the first woman to be part of the institution’s coordinating body.
“Society tries to deny its indigenous origins. They have taken our lands, our languages and our beliefs. Today, we know who we are, what our rights are and our position in history,” she says.
Zenilda Maria de Araújo, of the Xukuru people, who lives in Pernambuco, has, for two decades, participated in her people’s fight for land. Nowadays, the Xukuru possess more than 70% of their territory, but still live under constant threat from the ranchers in the region.
“Women have participated in all aspects of community life: in the fields, at home, in education, in health, in the struggles. We are on the front line in the struggles, together with the men. When we start to reflect on our struggles, we find more courage to continue the fight,” she says.
Eliane Potiguara was born in 1950 and, according to the information supplied by the 1000 Women Project, she is a writer and was founder of the Indigenous Education Women’s Group, which today is called the Indigenous Communications Network.
Cimi – Indianist Missionary Council – www.cimi.org.br