After 24 Years of Wait for Court Decision, Brazilian Indians Invade Land

Two groups of Indian Pataxó Hã-Hã-Hãe families reoccupied four farms in the municipality of Pau Brasil, located in the south region of the state of Bahia, between October 31 and November 1.

Over 40 families are still refusing to leave the lands, which are part of the 54,100 hectares of the original territory of the Pataxó Hã-Hã-Hãe.

Ten days after the reoccupation action, the regional manager of the National Foundation for Indigenous People (Funai) has not shown up to try to begin to negotiate a solution with the farmers who claim to own the lands. The chief of one of the groups, Nailton Muniz, will go to Ilhéus to request the agency to take measures to solve the conflict.

"The head of the Funai station in the area was present on the first day that the lands began to be reoccupied to monitor the removal of cattle from the farms, but he never showed up after that. He also failed to respond to our requests for support and to send us food. People are starving. In such a situation, it will be difficult to resist," said the outraged chief.

So far, the Pataxó Hã-Hã-Hãe have not received any repossession request. Despite the tense climate prevailing in the areas, there were no conflicts. Federal police officers visited one of the farms on the first day with the son of farmer Tito Machado, who wanted to see what was happening in the area.

Waiting for Two Decades

The Pataxó Hã-Hã-Hãe have been waiting for 24 years for the Supreme Court to issue a final decision on a lawsuit filed to cancel title deeds to lands where the occupied farms are located, among other properties. "I am very worried, because they have not made any decision in this regard after such a long time," chief Nailton regrets.  

The occupied farms are located in the region of Toucinho, on the border with the old farms São Lucas, Paraí­so, Milagrosa and other areas where the Pataxó Hã-Hã-Hãe had been living for many years.

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