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Brazil: Evicted from Land Trukí¡ Indians Take Over New Area

Brazil's Truká Indians The Brazilian Truká Indians repossessed another area in the Cabrobó region of Pernambuco, in Northeastern Brazil, in the early hours of Thursday morning, July 5. This action took place after the Mãe Rosa ranch, which has been occupied since June 25, had been repossessed by the police by court order.

The Truká people have been taking part in a joint operation involving other social movements and organizations that oppose the transposition of the São Francisco River. This repossession was carried out in the presence of heavily armed police, but there were no conflicts.

They are demanding demarcation of the Truká territory and interruption of the transposition work. The new area to be retaken lies around 8 km from Cabrobó and is known as the Tonho da Lalinha ranch. Around 300 people took part in the action.

Those involved that have not yet returned to their cities marched on for around 13 kilometers as far as the Jibóia settlement, which is occupied by workers connected to the Landless Workers Rural Movement (MST). Last Thursday morning, they set up a new camp. They have decided to continue with their protest actions against the transposition of the São Francisco River.

The campers have been undertaking awareness activities for the families that live in the settlement and in the surrounding areas, as well as at the public schools. The Regional Institute for Appropriate Small Farming and Animal Husbandry (IRPAA) provides training on alternative ways of living in the semi-arid region.

The workers will build a cistern out of canvas and cement for catching rainwater to supply the community center. The settlement consists of 50 families who have been there for 10 years, six as settlers. The site has no running water and the residents suffer serious water supply problems, especially for human consumption.

Funai

The leader Edilene Truká met recently the chairman of the National Foundation for Indigenous People (Márcio Meira), together with representatives of Cimi, Coiab and CTI, organizations that are part of the Forum for the Defense of Indigenous People's Rights. The Funai Chairman promised to send an anthropologist to the area.

During the meeting, it became obvious that Funai had known about the Truká people's claims to the land where the transposition work had been started, for some time.

According to information from the Indianist organization, Ibama authorized the Preliminary License for the work without any studies having been carried out beforehand, and the previous Funai management granted the installation license without taking the studies that had been produced into account.

Impact 

The environmental impact study for the Sao Francisco River transposition project expects there to be a direct environmental impact on three indigenous groups: the Truká, Pipipã and Kambiwá.

Ethnoecological Studies of the Pipipã Land, carried out in 2005 to supplement the project's Environmental Impact Report forecast serious environmental impacts, such as the deforestation of one of the few remaining preservation areas in the region and interference in animals' movements.

It also forecasts "high" interference in the group's economic and cultural organization, as there will be a construction site less than 1 km from the communities.

The Ethnoecological Study of the Truká Land presents this people's claims to the lands that were the target of last week's repossession, but does not make any suggestions about what to do.

The study also states "it is necessary to understand that for this people the survival of the São Francisco River means their own survival". The leader Edilene Truká explains that the members of her people receive force and guidance from the magic sources of light that live in the forest, the water, land and the air. "If the river is affected, it will also affect these forces and thus directly affect the Truká."

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