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Brazilian Indians Want Multinationals to Return Their Land

Pataxó Indians in Brazil At the heart of the Pascoal Mount area, 200 Pataxó from 11 villages located in the south tip of the state of Bahia held, between August 17 and 19, 2007, the 6th Assembly of the Pataxó Resistance and Struggle Front. During the meeting, they discussed the demarcation of the Pascoal Mount area and the encroachment of eucalyptus monoculture projects on the region, among other topics.

Regarding the demarcation of the Pascoal Mount area, the assembly discussed the bounds of the area and decided to fight for a single, continuous territory. In 2000, the National Foundation for Indigenous People (Funai) set up a technical group to draw up a report on the area, but up till now it has not been published. Given this delay, the Pataxó decided to launch an international campaign for the demarcation of their territory.
During the Assembly, the encroachment of eucalyptus monoculture on the Pataxó territory was reported. According to the Pataxó, the Aracruz and Veracel Cellulose companies buy lands illegally acquired by farmers who also drove indigenous people out of these lands.

Some of these areas are being disputed between the Pataxó and these companies. The Pataxó requested Funai to measure the quantity of hectares in indigenous lands that both companies invaded.
The indigenous people reported that the original forest in the areas invaded by the Veracel company is being destroyed for planting eucalyptus. They also warn that many rivers and lakes were contaminated by a poison used by the company, killing fish and plants of different kinds. In the Barra do Caí­ region, located in an indigenous land, the company plants eucalyptus trees through forest development projects.
The Assembly strengthened the organization of the Pataxó People, specifically of young people and women, who are becoming increasingly visible within the Pataxó indigenous movement.
In addition to indigenous people, the Assembly was attended by representatives of the Indianist Missionary Council, the National Indigenous Action Association, the Union of Bank Workers of the extreme south of Bahia, the Agricultural Workers Federation, the Center for Studies and Research for the Development of the South Tip of Bahia, the Ecumenical Service Coordination, the Articulation of the Indigenous Peoples and Organizations from the Northeast, Minas Gerais, and the state of Espí­rito Santo and of other organizations.


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