Social Issues

Indigenous women protest in Brazil’s capital

Brasilia, Sep 10 (EFE).- Indigenous women from across Brazil gathered here Friday to denounce the policies of right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro.

“This struggle represents our resistance against all of the Brazilian government’s rolling back of the rights of indigenous peoples,” Juma Shibuya, a member of the Shibuya ethnic group, told Efe.

Organizers said that women representing each of Brazil’s 172 recognized indigenous peoples took part in the march, which began soon after dawn.

The women made their way through Brasilia to a square known as Praço do Indio (Plaza of the Indian) as a consequence of an incident in 1997 when Galdino Jesus dos Santos, a leader of the Pataxo people, died of burns after some white youths who spotted him sleeping at a bus stop doused him with gasoline and lit a match.

Once in the square, marchers set fire to an effigy of Bolsonaro.

The protest came as Brazil’s Supreme Court weighs the legality of a move by Bolsonaro to limit indigenous territorial claims to land that was actually occupied by indigenous people when the country’s current constitution took effect on Oct. 5, 1988.

Indigenous leaders say the policy effectively negates their “ancestral rights,” which are established in Brazilian law, to benefit people who occupied indigenous land illegally.

Nearly 6,000 indigenous people have been in Brasilia since the end of last month awaiting the decision from the high court.

The justice who is leading the Supreme Court review, Edson Fachin, said Thursday that he will vote to quash Bolsonaro’s policy because it devalues the rights of indigenous peoples.

Shibuya said that the indigenous peoples will not abandon their effort to end the policy even if the court upholds it.

“We hope that the result is positive, but if it’s not, we will continue with the struggle,” she said.

Tamikuan Tirry, a Guarani, said the indigenous peoples also share a commitment to environmental protection.

“We will go on together because we, the indigenous peoples, are the seeds of the roots that colonization did not succeed in destroying,” she told Efe. EFE am-nbo/dr

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