On October 28, the hope for a solution to the conflict over the recognition of indigenous areas is addressed to the Federal Court of Justice (STF). At stake is the suspension or non-compliance with Opinion 001/2017 of the Advocacia Geral da União (AGU), which set a “timeframe” to enable new delineations of indigenous areas (TI).
The statement, which is celebrated by rural residents and sectors interested in the economic exploitation of traditional areas, says that indigenous peoples are only entitled to claim land that was already occupied on October 5, 1988, the day the constitution was promulgated.
According to the Federal Ministry of Public Affairs (MPF), since its publication in the government of Michel Temer (MDB), the “time frame” thesis has made it impossible to delineate at least 27 indigenous countries whose processes have been returned by the Ministry of Justice and Public Security According to the Indigenous Missionary Council (Cimi), according to the National Indigenous Foundation (Funai), another 310 indigenous countries are stagnating in their delimitation processes.
The matter reached the Supreme Court ruling on a case of the Xokleng people, whose territory is the target of a “timeframe” withdrawal action initiated by the State of Santa Catarina. The case had general ramifications approved by the court in 2019 and will therefore serve as the basis for other delineation processes in the country. In practice, the Supreme Court will decide whether AGU Opinion 001/2017 is valid or not.
“If the decision is favorable to the rural population, we consider it genocide. We have already fought with the whites. The whites have a gun, and today they have the weapon that is the pen. And they’ll kill us like that with the pen. Not just from the Xokleng, but from all parts of Brazil ”, says Ana Uglô Patté, Xokleng management of José Boiteux (SC)
For Rafael Modesto, legal advisor to the Indigenous Mission Council (Cimi) and one of the advocates of the Xokleng people, the STF is expected to adhere to the “Indigenous Theory” provided for in the 1988 Constitution and recognize this is the indigenous peoples’ territories originally and before the creation of the state.
“This is a lie, an invention, a legal fiction. We firmly believe in the coherence and cohesion of the Ministers of the Supreme Court as guardians of our federal constitution,” says Modesto.
According to the lawyer, the “time frame” thesis legitimizes the violations to which the peoples were exposed until 1988, especially during the military dictatorship.
“There are historical records of extreme violence in cases of indigenous people trying to claim or return to the land they were evicted from. The legal steps that existed at that time to create the thesis are practically impossible as the indigenous peoples were protected until 1988, which actually makes them unconstitutional, ”he defines.
Numerous examples of the violence cited by the Xokleng people’s lawyer are documented in the so-called “Figueiredo Report”, in which landowners and employees of the Extinct Indian Protection Service (SPI) found killings of indigenous communities.
The document, drawn up in 1967, condemns the hunting of aborigines with machine guns and dynamite from airplanes, the deliberate spread of smallpox among isolated peoples, and the donation of sugar with poison.
Among reports of human hunts promoted with machine guns and dynamite thrown from airplanes, targeted vaccinations against smallpox and sugar donations mixed with strychnine. After 45 years of disappearance, the report is available on the MPF website.
“People of the Sun”
The land at stake on the banks of the Itajaí do Norte River in Santa Catarina was recognized as traditional territory by the Ministry of Justice in 2003 – based on anthropological studies by Funai – and is part of the reduced Ibirama-Laklanõ territory. 63% of the extinct Indian Protection Service (SPI) during the 20th century.
There is no “time frame” in the federal constitution, there are traditional rights of the indigenous peoples.
In addition to the Xokleng – who call themselves “Laklanõ” or “People of the Sun” – the Guarani and Kaingang ethnic groups also live in Ibirama-La Klaño, where they compete for space with loggers and tobacco farmers.
“Our story of the struggle, our contact was on September 22nd, 1914 here in the Itajaí Valley, surrounded by four cities with Europeans, Italians, Germans and Poles. The state itself paid the people to kill indigenous peoples. In 1904, more than 200 indigenous people were killed. There is no “time frame” in the federal constitution, there are traditional rights of the indigenous peoples, “recalls Brasílio Priprá, another leader of the Xokleng people who will be admitted in the October 28 process.
In the 1960s, the construction of the north dam to contain flooding in the Vale do Itajaí region flooded 95% of Xokleng’s arable land, including villages. The work, completed in 1992, was approved by SPI. The lack of food sovereignty has impacted the surge in cases of Covid-19 today, with more than 200 cases and three deaths among the ethnic group, according to indigenous people.
“More than 700 hectares were flooded, meaning the entire area that was suitable for planting and cultivation and was fertile under water. Many people were unemployed, “says Ana Uglô Patté.
“Many tribal peoples today work to feed themselves because we are no longer able to make a living in our own communities. We no longer have the food sovereignty that we had,” he adds.
Edition: Rodrigo Chagas