20 Indian Tribes Get an Audience in Brazil’s Capital

About 60 indigenous people attended an audience with representatives of Funai, Incra, Funasa, Ibama, the Federal Prosecution Service, and the ministries of Education, Environment and Justice, Friday, the 19th, in BrasÀ­lia.

Half of the group came from Rondônia. The group included representatives of 17 indigenous peoples who, among other important topics mentioned health care issues and the need to demarcate indigenous lands and remove invaders from them.


The indigenous peoples of Rondônia reported that no special health care is available to them in that state.


During the Fernando Henrique Cardoso administration, health care services for indigenous people were outsourced through agreements entered into with an NGO and an indigenous organization.


The agreements were cancelled early this year, and no public policy has replaced that model so far. The Indigenous Health Agents who provide health care services in indigenous villages complain that the contents of their training courses have been exactly the same in the last four years.


Indigenous people are forced to leave their villages and go to larger cities for medical treatment, where they are referred to hospitals linked to the Unified Health System by the so-called  “Indigenous People’s Homes.”


The lack of special health care arrangements for indigenous people makes it impossible for them to communicate their needs to the doctors who receive them in those cities, since not all the indigenous people of Rondônia speak Portuguese.


According to them, the National Health Foundation (Funasa) refuses to treat indigenous people who don’t live in indigenous villages, that is, who live in cities, and also refuses to give them medicines when they manage to be seen by doctors of the Unified Health System (SUS).


Regarding their lands, some peoples of Rondônia want measures to be taken to initiate the recognition of their traditional territories, others are struggling to remove invaders from demarcated lands, and others want the bounds of their lands to be reviewed, since the demarcated areas have excluded traditional sites such as cemeteries and what they refer to as taquarais (sites where they extract raw materials to build their homes and produce handicraft).


The Tupari people reported that 4 dams were built in Rio Branco which affected the water flow rate of an important river as well as their fishing activities and transportation through it.


“The river we use for transportation purposes is dry and the fish disappeared. The dams hold the water and release it without consulting indigenous people. The river banks were deforested for cattle to be raised and the poison used in coffee plantations contaminated the water,” indigenous leaders report.


The Pataxó Hã-Hã-Hãe and Tupinambá de Olivença (state of Bahia) peoples also attended the Audience. For 22 years, the Pataxó Hã-Hã-Hãe have been pressuring for an action for declaring title deeds null and void to be judged by the Supreme Federal Court.


Their lands can only be demarcated and invading farmers removed from them after the court issues its final judgment in connection with that lawsuit.


The Tupinambá de Olivença are a resistant people, since they were considered extinct but managed to reorganize themselves and are now fighting for the recognition of their land.


The Javaé who live in the Bananal Island in the state of Tocantins attended the audience to demand the official confirmation of the bounds of their traditional land, which has been demarcated already.


The overlapping of the Araguaia National Park with indigenous lands prevents the conclusion of their recognition process and generates disputes between indigenous people and Ibama (Brazilian Institute for the Environment).


Cimi ”“ Indianist Missionary Council
www.cimi.org.br

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