Brazil’s Indianist Council Charges Government of Lying About Indian Lands

Funai, the Brazilian government agency in charge of Indian affairs, rejected reports from the Krahô-Kanela to the press that the lands they are claiming were not considered as traditionally occupied by indigenous people in anthropological studies that were carried out and that the National Colonization and Land Reform Institute (Incra) is the agency in charge of settling their community in an appropriate location.

Cimi, the Indianist Missionary Council, reiterated the reports of the indigenous people. According to Cimi, even if Funai reached the conclusion that the land in question is not one traditionally occupied by them, the law (the Charter of Indigenous People) says that Funai should set apart an area for them to live in.

Areas created under such circumstances are referred to as Indigenous Reservations. What this means is that even if the land did not belong to the Krahô, Funai would still have the obligation to solve the problem, as it involves an indigenous population.

The worst lie of Funai, always according to Cimi, is that the anthropological studies did not consider that the Krahô-Kanela land, which they call "Mata Alagada," is a traditional land.

This is not what the anthropological and land studies commissioned by the agency say. Two studies were carried on this area: a preliminary survey and a complete anthropological study carried out by a Technical Group.

Both studies indicated that the area claimed by the Krahô-Kanela has features of a land traditionally occupied by indigenous people. The coordinator of the Technical Group, Graziela Rodrigues de Almeida, proposed that the Krahô-Kanela Indigenous Land should be demarcated with 31,925 hectares.

As provided for in Decree 1,775/96, which sets out the administrative procedure to be adopted for demarcating indigenous lands, the next phase is the decision of the president of the agency, within 15 days, to approve or not the report of the Technical Group, which he set up himself.

Therefore, as opposed to what Funai says, the process for demarcating the Krahô-Kanela Indigenous Land has not advanced at all in over a year as a result of the red tape of Funai, whose directors have not made any legal-administrative decision in relation to it.

Now, if the procedure is under way, why should Incra take steps to settle the Krahô-Kanela in a different area? This could only be done after the administration procedure is completed.

Therefore, why should the federal administration spend public funds to establish a settlement for indigenous people under the land reform program? These questions are likely to remain unanswered.

Cimi – Indianist Missionary Council – www.cimi.org.br

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