We, representatives of 45 indigenous peoples in Brazil, more than 600 participants, were summoned by chief Raoni to meet between January 14 and 18, 2020 in the village Piaraçu (Terra Indígena Capoto Jarina), with the objective of bringing together our forces and denounce that a political project of the Brazilian government of genocide, ethnocide and ecocide is underway.
The Brazilian State has to understand that it has a historic debt to indigenous peoples. We are the first inhabitants of our country. We not only defend the environment: we are Nature itself. If they kill the environment, they are killing us. We want the forest forever standing, not because the forest is beautiful, but because all these beings that inhabit the forest are part of us and run in our blood.
The Brazilian State recognizes indigenous rights by the Federal Constitution of 1988 in Articles 231 and 232, in which creation we were involved, in addition to other national and international legal standards, such as the 169 convention of OIT. So we demand, that whenever projects and decisions that may impact and threaten our territories and ways of life are projected, our right to free, prior and informed consultation be respected.
We don’t need to destroy to produce. They cannot sell our wealth; money does not pay for it. Our territory is very rich, not in money, we are rich in diversity and this whole forest depends on our culture to stand. What counts for us is our land. This is worth more than life. And we are the ones who can sustain nature are, us who never destroyed or polluted our river. We take care of our land; we know its value. We must protect that which our ancestors left us.
The current government’s threats and hate speech are promoting violence against indigenous peoples and the murder of our leaders. Today we must prepare ourselves to face not only the government, but also to react to the violence of some sectors of society, who very clearly express racism just because we are indigenous.
The indigenous women present at the gathering, leaders and warriors, generators and protectors of life, reaffirm their fight against the abuses that their bodies, spirits and territories are facing. It is women who guarantee our ways of life and our language. They guarantee our existence in our collective home. We indigenous women and men fight side by side for the right to the land that feeds and heals us.
The indigenous youth present at this gathering reaffirms the commitment to continue the struggle of the leaders in defense of our lives, our territories and our right to exist. The knowledge and traditions that our grandparents taught us are the great solution to the threats against our people and our territories, and to the climate crisis that is coming. This new generation is ready to take the solutions they have been taught.
Only we can talk about ourselves and for ourselves. We do not admit chiefs being disrespected, just as Bolsonaro did in 2019 in his speech during the UN meeting against chief Raoni. We affirm that Chief Raoni is YES our leader and he represents us! He will be our reference, for his firm and peaceful struggle, for his leadership: today and always. That is why we support his candidacy as a Nobel Peace Prize. We demand that Congress legally recognize indigenous authorities as the first rulers of this country. Our lands are governed by our chiefs, indigenous authorities who decide in favor of communities, based on collective claims and not individuals.
The current president of the republic is threatening our rights, our health, our territory. The current government has a plan to permit extraction of ore, and livestock, in our territories. We join our forces, reunited together and show our strength in this document to continue our struggles that are being followed by our grandchildren. The current government is attacking us, wanting to take the land out of our hands. We do not accept gold digging, mining, agribusiness and leasing on our lands, we do not accept loggers, illegal fishermen, hydroelectric plants and other projects, such as Ferrogrão, that will impact us in a direct and irreversible way.
We are against everything that destroys our forests and our rivers. We don’t admit that Brazil be put on sale for other countries who have the intention of exploiting our territory. We want above everything respect for our lives, our traditions, our customs and the Federal Constitution which protects our rights.
We write this document as a clamor, so that we indigenous peoples can be listened to by the three powers of the republic, by society and by the international community.
Consultation processes must guarantee our right to say NO to government and Congress initiatives. Consultations must respect our traditional forms of political representation and organization, as well as our autonomous protocols for consultation and consent.
We make clear that the indigenous people that now hold positions in the federal government, without our participation in their appointment, and who support in some manner Bolsonaro’s government, do not represent us.
We demand the compliance of our original right over our territories through the demarcation and homologation of the claimed indigenous lands. We repudiate the thesis of the timeframe and demand that stopped demarcation processes be resumed immediately, as Kapot Nhinore, the former claim of chief Raoni.
We are against the municipalization of indigenous health and against the political nomination for positions at SESAI. We demand the political, administrative and financial autonomy of the Special Indigenous Health Sanitary Districts – DSEI’s and the strengthening of social control through the recreation of the District Indigenous Health Councils Presidents Forum – CONDISI, extinguished by Decree 9.759 / 2019. We demand the guarantee of a qualified and adequate workforce for our service.
We demand compliance with the Conduct Adjustment Term – TAC signed between the Ministry of Health, FUNAI, SESAI, the Federal Public Defender’s Office and the Federal Public Ministry, which guarantees the continuity of services related to indigenous health policy. And we demand the holding of the 6th National Conference on Indigenous Health.
We demand compliance with the indigenous policy under the responsibility of FUNAI and SESAI for all indigenous peoples and indigenous territories in Brazil, and not only for the approved indigenous territories.
We reject the persecution and attempt to criminalize our leaders, indigenous and indigenous organizations, collaborators and partners.
We demand guarantee of the physical and moral integrity of our communities and leaders and the punishment of those who are killing our relatives.
We demand that the Brazilian State fulfill its constitutional responsibility to protect indigenous territories and the environment, restraining illegal activities and punishing criminals. We also demand that the government take responsibility for the poisoning of the air, soil and rivers caused by the irresponsible and uncontrolled use of pesticides around our lands.
We demand a differentiated and quality education for our young people, which allows them to complete their training, from basic education to high school, in our territories. We do not accept the scrapping of public universities and we ask for the guarantee of continuity of scholarships for indigenous youths who are going to study in the city at universities. The university education of young people is important for the continuity of our struggle. It is a space that ensures that we are prepared for the changes that threaten us. For this reason, the youth holds the pen in their hands next to what has been taught by their grandparents to launch the arrow that was given to them, to continue fighting. Being at university only makes sense if we exercise our spirituality. In this sense, we ask Brazilian society to join us in the struggle for access to plural and democratic universities, for university education that values and recognizes the science of the territory.
We want policies to strengthen sustainable economic alternatives for our territories, without the use of pesticides, and that promote the economy of the Standing Forest, with an emphasis on culture, traditional knowledge, no extractivisim and clean technologies.
We are human beings, we are the originary people from Brazil. We are part of Brazil and Brazil is part of us. We do not accept them saying that our territories are too big, because that does not compare to the size and strength of our culture and to what we have contributed to maintain, not only our lives and ways of life, but the lives of everyone on the planet. Brazil was not born first, it was us indigenous peoples, and we were massacred, but we continue to resist in order to exist.
We are not alone. At this great meeting, we declare the resumption of the Forest People’s Alliance, which includes the Caatinga, Pantanal, Cerrado, Atlantic Forest and the Amazon. We will be together defending the protection of our territories. This struggle is not only for indigenous peoples, but for all of us, it is a struggle for the life of the planet.
We conclude certain that 2020 will be a year of a lot of struggle, and we call on all relatives and partners of Indigenous Peoples, in Brazil and abroad, for a year of many mobilizations, where we must be present with the strength and energy of our ancestors in Brasilia and on the streets around the world. The fight continues until the last Indian!
Piaraçu Village, January 18, 2020
Read more about the meeting here:
- EN: https://uk.reuters.com/
article/us-brazil-indigenous/ brazilian-tribes-back- manifesto-to-save-amazon- habitat-from-bolsonaro- idUKKBN1ZH0HM
- PT: https://amazoniareal.com.