Territorial demarcation and fight against regression

 Territorial demarcation and fight against regression

The urgency of these themes was the focus of the press conference with Brazilian native nations.

By Daniele Savietto

While many people are marching for the need for more concrete actions that can combat climate change, leaders of native peoples have come together in a movement to draw attention to two focal points at this COP: the urgency of demarcating indigenous lands throughout the Brazilian territory and also to highlight the huge setback in rights and guarantees that have been these last four years of the Bolsonaro government.

The voices of Puyr Tembé, Célia Xakriabá, Juliana of the ANMIGA association and Toya Manchineri, were unanimous with regard to the breath of hope that the new government offers, allowing us to at least dream about the resumption of rights that we thought were guaranteed, but proved to be fragile, and that concern all of society and not exclusively the native nations, as many like to think. 

This government has made clear how much regression is possible and indigenous leaders want to take a leading role in the transition of the government so that the rights of the original peoples, namely the need for a true demarcation of indigenous lands throughout Brazil, and not exclusively in the Amazon, are carried out.

It is necessary to keep in mind that this is one of the main tools to fight against climate change, and that, if it is not done by alterity, let it be by the not so obvious logic that, without the world there is no money.

The press conference was mediated by the leader Puyr Tembé, (Amazon), on the positioning of the Brazilian indigenous movement in the current political scenario. 

Celia Xakriabá, recently elected federal representative, affirmed that the only vaccine for deforestation are laws, which cannot come exclusively from the Brazilian government, but need to be supported by the European parliament and the entire world. She also remembered the need to commit not only to the Amazon forest, but also to the Cerrado, the Atlantic forest, the pantanal wetlands, the pampa, and the catinga, since leaving any biome out is to commit ecocide. 

The leader also remembered that the indigenous population represents only 5% of the world population, however they protect 80% of the planet’s biodiversity. She was emphatic when she stated that the indigenous peoples have been at the COP for 522 years, since Brazil has never stopped fighting and there is no standing forest if indigenous blood is being spilled.

Juliana, Guarani indigenous leader of ANMIGAS, also made a forceful speech stating that the footprints of her ancestors brought her here and that she carries the voice of the Atlantic Forest, one of the most exploited biomes.  She recalled the critical political moment in Brazil, where freedom is constantly threatened, and how this election sounds like a sigh of hope for the native nations. 

Thus, more than ever, it is necessary to take advantage of the current situation to rebuild the policies that have been destroyed, but much more, to build a new form of government for the native peoples in a participatory and joint manner.

In addition, Juliana recalled the importance of bringing into the debate the diversity of peoples and biomes, the need to put on the agenda historical violence that has been inflicted on our peoples with wounds that are still open and in need of measures to enable transitional justice.

That is why it is time to technically evaluate the dismantling that has been done to think of ways to establish future actions.

Here, once again, attention is drawn to the urgency of demarcating indigenous lands, recalling that this is one of the main measures to combat climate change. 

Toya Manchineri, COIAB coordinator, also took the floor to affirm that we have regained hope after a cloudy scenario, and to insist on the need for indigenous peoples to participate in the Lula government by strengthening indigenous institutions, recalling that FUNAI, responsible for demarcation, is today in the hands of agribusiness. 

Thus, there is an urgent need to resume actions with more agility than ever. Create protection laws that extend to all, guarantee the right to demarcate lands in every corner of Brazil, and revoke decrees and ordinances that go against the rights of indigenous peoples.

Ana Beatriz, from the public agency, asked about the existing expectation regarding the new Ministry of Indigenous Peoples that should be created. About this, Toya and Célia affirmed the need to be a working group composed of indigenous people and leaders to ensure a good articulation of public policies and work with all relevant problems, such as climate issues.

Finally, Célia drew attention with a strong and impactful speech, and it is with her that I would like to conclude: “People say that demarcating indigenous land is very expensive – yes, it is so expensive that it has cost us our lives.”

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