“Today (Nov 28, 2014) at 10am, the Munduruku Indians occupied Funai’s building (Brazilian government body that establishes and carries out policies relating to indigenous peoples) in Itaituba city, Pará state of Brazil, to demand the demarcation of Sawré Muybu territory. They have been living in that area for centuries and the demarcation has been already indicated by Funai technicians. However, the case stands in Brasilia for over a year. There are three villages located in the areas planned to be flooded by ‘São Luiz do Tapajós’ dam. Since to evict the Indians from their land is forbidden by the Brazilian Constitution, to demarcate this area means to make it impossible to build up the dam, which is now going through the environmental studies process – one of the prior steps to the actual dam construction. The Munduruku Indians are demanding the publication of a ‘Detailed Report’ which indicates and recommends the immediate demarcation of the area.
A month ago the Munduruku people have started the process of ‘demarcating’ their land entirely by themselves. Around 2.5 miles have already been marked in the jungle. The occupation of Funai’s building became urgent after the Indians met more than 300 gold miners exploring the borders of their land, a location considered sacred to them. The gold miners said they would only leave the area when the land is demarcated.
“We want (politicians in) Brasília to quickly demarcate our land. Because we look after this land much better than the Brazilian government bodies do” said the chief Juarez Saw Munduruku. – As he said that, around 40 Munduruku Indians cried “Sawe”, which in Munduruku tradition means many things: an applause, or a battle cry, or an indication that all are in sync and in solidarity, or that they are in a time of celebration.
Before the occupation, the Munduruku published a letter denouncing the imminent conflict between them and the gold miners. (http://i.imgur.com/j5S30tW.jpg – in Portuguese) They have stated that if the demarcation process is not accomplished, Funai “will be provoking a conflict with unimaginable proportions between the Munduruku and the invaders”. Agência Pública is at the building covering the action. While there is not an effective answer from Brasilia, the Munduruku Indians will not let Funai’s workers to leave the building in Itaituba. While everyone wait for an answer, the dialog between the workers and the Indians is peaceful. On the last call made to FUNAI’s president in Brasilia, they were informed that José Eduardo Cardozo, Brazil’s Justice Minister, would be contacted about the case.
Photo by: Marcio Isensee e Sá
Translated Report by Agência Pública