Tears, patches and indigenous seams

Image: ColeraAlegria


It will be difficult to fix everything that was abandoned during this period from 2019 to 2022

This text was prepared for wide dissemination, which we also call scientific dissemination or popularization of science. It is a narrative, with logical and verifiable foundations, however, it has the seal, the credible experience of someone who lives the aspirations of her people on a daily basis: the cacica Uruba. So, it is still a beautiful composition, with six hands, between intuition of knowledge and expression in the first person. It is a predominantly feminine text – feminine-indigenous – and links theory and practice. It deserves to be read, if it weren't for other reasons, that would be enough, because it spreads science and the world of life.

Our history begins at the height of the debates on the inclusion of indigenous rights in 1988, when Ailton Krenak and supporters went up to the National Congress in defense of indigenous peoples. Since then, the Federal Constitution of 1988 represents a break in the colonialist vision, making room for a posture of respect for cultural identity and original rights over traditionally occupied lands – thus, the existing right to the lands inhabited by them being implicit.

The article. 231, of the Federal Constitution of 1988 (BRASIL, 1988), says: “The Indians are recognized for their social organization, customs, languages, beliefs and traditions, and the original rights over the lands they traditionally occupy, and the Union is responsible for demarcating them, protect and ensure respect for all its assets”. What's more, § 4osays, “the lands dealt with in this article are inalienable and unavailable, and the rights over them, imprescriptible”. Paradoxically, indigenous lands have been increasingly invaded and attacked by farmers, loggers, land grabbers, miners, causing massive deforestation, genocide and a great loss of knowledge and the Brazilian indigenous population.

In 2018, anthropologist Stephen Baines told Agência Brasil, citing conventions of the International Labor Organization (ILO) and United Nations (UN) on the rights of indigenous peoples (PEDUZZI, 2018): “it is difficult for indigenous peoples to plan large flights from the point of view of resources, without first resolving the issue of territorial management, which includes the legal security that is only possible for them after having their lands demarcated and ratified. It is essential to have respect for the Indians and their way of living and producing. Therefore, it is necessary to enforce the rights provided for both in the Constitution and by international conventions”.

According to the Instituto Socioambiental (ISA), only 13,8% of all land in Brazil is reserved for native peoples. There are 732 indigenous lands in the country (at different stages of the demarcation process). Of these, only 487 have been ratified (when the demarcation process was completed) since 1988. It is important to note that the government, between 2019 and 2022, was the first and only one not to demarcate any indigenous land (ACERVO ISA, 2023) .

The report on violence against indigenous peoples in Brazil, with data for the year 2019, reads (CIMI, 2019, p. 6): “The vertiginous increase in invasions, land grabbing, arson, illegal subdivisions, threats, conflicts, neglect in health care and education, criminalization, among other violations of their rights, shows that indigenous people face one of the most challenging historical moments since the invasion of colonizers”.

Still within the report we find the following data: “According to a survey by the Instituto Socioambiental (ISA), deforestation in indigenous lands in the Amazon region, between August 2018 and July 2019, was the highest recorded in 11 years, with 42,6 hectares deforested” (ACERVO ISA, 2023).

According to the dossier released on March 16, 2023, an unprecedented dossier by the Alliance in Defense of the Territories, the expansion of illegal mining in indigenous lands is strongly linked to the fragility of the laws, the lack of inspection, the omission of the authorities and to the vulnerability of exploited regions. The dossier entitled “Terra Rasgada: how mining advances in the Brazilian Amazon” (ACERVO ISA, 2023), presents data from Yanomami, Munduruku and Kayapó lands, which prove that mining in Indigenous Lands (ILs) in the region grew by 495% between 2010 and 2020, with exploration for gold mainly. The statements contained in the document, which contain evidence of the facts described, signal the serious violations of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, such as the right to life, territory, self-determination, an ecologically balanced environment, security and the right to health and food .

A study carried out by the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG) (MACIEIRA, 2022), which takes into account the years 2019 and 2020, analyzed in depth the permissions for the extraction of mineral substances, gold mining in the country. Among the results, 90% of the mineral exploration areas were outside authorized locations. This reality is observed in several indigenous territories, the extraction of minerals, invasions of indigenous lands with the implementation of monoculture, land grabbers, farmers, genocide, deforestation, fires, and various other forms of violence against the indigenous people, but also against all humanity. .

It is worth emphasizing here the importance of the territory, the relationship that the indigenous people have with the land. Different from what the majority of the population considers, the struggle for territory is not a struggle for possession of the territory as a material asset, but for the struggle for territory in the form of defense and protection of all humanity. Failure to understand the indigenous population's cosmovision and cosmopolitics has undermined respect and support for indigenous causes for 523 years.

The relationship that indigenous people have with territory, nature, land, requires listening and speaking space. As Kena Azevedo Chaves quotes: “Indigenous peoples find in their territories the material basis for organizing life” (TZUL, 2015 apoud CHAVES, 2021, p. 52). It is also through the territory that their existence as a people, from an identity perspective linked to specific cosmologies, is made possible. (ALMEIDA, 2012 apoud KEYS, 2021).

Still on indigenous cosmology, we have the strong words of Fabiane Medina da Cruz in an interview for PEITA in 2021 (CRUZ, 2020, p. 48): “according to the ancestral political economy, the world has an autonomous nature, which we cannot possess . Nature and the elements of cosmology, in addition to having their own spirits, are things that cannot be 'dominated' by human beings, since the cosmos has much more power over the lives of living beings than the other way around. Therefore, the relationship of the indigenous person with the world, life and nature is much more one of respect than domination”.

Indigenous peoples celebrate the land, ask for land permission and fight for territories and liberation from invaders and devastators of ecosystems, fighting for harmony with Mother Earth, fighting for all of us, 8 billion human beings spread across the world.

Brazil, unfortunately, has returned to the “Hunger Map”, according to the FAO report (Food and Agriculture Organisation) published in the year 2022 (FAO, 2022). This scenario of food insecurity and hunger has intensified in recent years and the indigenous worldview of 300 peoples in the country can contribute to the food security process, as proposed by CIMI (2023) in the linked news item of 28/03/2023 with the theme: “Free Territories”, and the motto “Peoples without Hunger”.

On January 11, 2023, we had the honor of witnessing the inauguration of Sonia Guajajara to the first and historic Ministry of Indigenous Peoples created during the Lula government, in his third term, 2023, in response to the historic claims of the indigenous movement (cacica Uruba). During her inauguration, Sonia emphasized: “We need to rethink education policies for indigenous people, valuing plural identities, training indigenous teachers, expanding access to and permanence in higher education. Indigenous lands, territories inhabited by other peoples and traditional communities, and conservation units are essential to contain deforestation in Brazil and to combat the climate emergency faced by all of humanity. We know that it will not be easy to overcome 522 years in four, but we are willing to make this moment the great recovery of the ancestral strength of the Brazilian soul and spirit. Never again a Brazil without us” (G1, 2023, p. eleven).

Along with the creation of the Ministry and the inauguration, came the reality faced by indigenous peoples between the years 2019 and 2022. They were invisible, as it was possible to perceive with the humanitarian crisis faced by the Yanomami people, with more than 11.000 cases of malaria, deaths caused by mercury and malnutrition, sexual violence, murders and disappearances, as reported by Ricardo Weibe Tapeba, secretary of indigenous health (SESAI).

Several indigenous territories are awaiting the issuance of the declaratory ordinance by the Ministry of Justice, as is the case of TI Barra Velha, located in the extreme south of Bahia. Since 2009, the TI has published a detailed report on the identification and delimitation of the area by Funai, and, even without any impediment to its issuance, the ordinance has not yet been issued.

It is worth mentioning the normative instruction 09/2020 published by Funai under the last government, which evidenced the pressure on these territories, releasing the certification of farms on indigenous lands that had not yet been ratified, causing conflicts, violence and deaths. During this period, the effect was immediate after the regulation, a total of 51 certified farms on the Barra Velha and Comexatibá indigenous territory, fully overlapping the indigenous lands. Between April and August 2020, there were 10 property certifications on the Comexatibá TI and 41 on the Barra Velha TI, most of which belonging to landowners defeated in the STJ. According to CIMI and the monitoring of daily events in the Barra Velha TI, landowners have been negotiating and financing activities in these areas, increasing the pressure and devastation of the territory already officially recognized as traditionally occupied by the Pataxó people (CIMI, 2023).

On Indigenous Peoples Day, April 19, 2023, FUNAI (National Foundation of Indigenous Peoples), announced the creation of 6 technical groups for the identification and delimitation of Indigenous Lands in the states of Acre, Amazonas, Rondônia and Rio Grande do Sul. These acts have already been signed by the president of FUNAI, Joenia Wapichana, together with the minister of indigenous peoples Sonia Guajajara.

From the 24th to the 28th of April 2023, the largest indigenous mobilization took place in Brasília (DF), the ATL (Acampamento Terra Livre), which is in its 19th edition and had, as one of the central agendas, the climate emergency, reinforcing the importance of demarcating indigenous lands, as they work against deforestation, already identified in the fight against global warming. During the event, on Wednesday the 26th, a climate emergency was declared and the debate on the contribution and commitment of indigenous peoples to the solution was declared. It was also announced the reactivation of the work of the Indigenous Committee on Climate Change (CIMC) of the Articulação dos Povos Indígenas do Brasil (APIB), so that it serves as a positioning of the indigenous movement in the discussion on the subject at national and international level, thus increasing the dialogue with governments. Actions in relation to the Judiciary were also discussed, with the main demand for rejection of the thesis of the temporal framework, which has been dragging on for years in judgment at the Federal Supreme Court (STF) and should be resumed by the Court on June 7, 2023.

It will be difficult to fix everything that was abandoned during this period from 2019 to 2022, but many spaces for speech are being opened, many complaints are being heard and we hope that 2023 will be the beginning of great resolutions, that ATL will be the seeds of many solutions and attention to the indigenous communities that resist, persist and insist on the search for a better world for everyone and their lives!

*Vinicio Carrilho Martinez He is a professor at the Department of Education at UFSCar.

*Marcia Camargo is an artist and doctoral student in Science, Technology and Society at UFSCar.

*Erilza Braz dos Santos he is vice cacica Uruba.


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