Tupinikim and Guarani begin campaign to reclaim land
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Tupinikim and Guarani begin campaign to reclaim land

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John Ahni Schertow
July 30, 2007
 

A few days ago I posted an article about the Brazilian company Aracruz Cellulose and their efforts to invalidate, undermine, and steal from the Tupinikim and Guarani Indigenous People. Well, it turns out that on July 24 the Tupinikim and Guarani began a campaign to reclaim their land…

Much thanks to Robert J. Miller for posting the Open Letter on his website.

Open Letter to the population and Brazilian authorities dated July 24
By the Commission of Tupinikim and Guarani Chiefs and Leaders

“we start realizing several pacific actions with the aim to retake the possession of the 11,009 ha (hectares?) of lands that belong to us and that have already been identified exhaustively by the FUNAI as lands traditionally occupied by us, Tupinikim and Guarani.

Initially we intend to paralyze the cutting of eucalyptus trees and take the non-indigenous persons, who are illegally in our lands, out of the area. Then, we will organize collective working days to reconstruct some of our villages (Olho d´Água, Macacos and Areal), destroyed by Aracruz Celulose when it invaded our lands. We will construct houses and plant food crops and native tree species in order to recover and reforest our lands.

By means of the paralyzation of the eucalyptus cutting and the taking out of the non-indigenous people, we want to preserve the eucalyptus plantations, to be utilized as payments for due reimbursements to Aracruz Celulose for the ‘improvements’ existing in the 11,009 ha. The paralyzation of the eucalyptus cutting will also apply to us, indigenous, as one more proof of our desire to cooperate with a quick and pacific solution for the problem.

However, we want to reaffirm that our actions are motivated by the delay of the federal government in solving a dispute that has been going on now for almost 40 years. We always complied with our obligations assumed with the government, but not always the government complied with theirs. It is worth while to remember that the ex-Minister of Justice Márcio Thomas Bastos, during a public meeting in the Espirito Santo State Parliament in February 2006, promised to demarcate our lands until the end of 2006. However, in January 2007, just before leaving the Ministry, he irregularly devolved the land demarcation files to FUNAI, in spite of the fact that he had all the necessary elements to sign the demarcation decrees of our lands. Recently, 7 months later, the files returned to the Ministry of Justice. How much time more will be necessary for signing the demarcation decrees and other necessary measures?

Finally, we want to make clear that our struggle aims to recover our land and we will not desist from this right. If the neglect and delay of the federal government persists, we will intensify our actions to consolidate the possession of the lands of our ancestors and of our children and grandchildren, including restarting the cutting of eucalyptus trees by the indigenous communities.”

Also see
Tired of Waiting for Government Action Brazilian Indians Take Over Land

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