(Eng) Guarani indians self-demarcate their land

by way of neil@lds.co.uk (native-l@GNOSYS.SVLE.MA.US)
Thu, 16 Nov 1995 23:38:18 +0100

Original Sender: cimi@ax.apc.org
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Newsletter N. 184


Supported by Guarani communities from seven Brazilian states, more
than 100 Guarani Indians in Rio Grande do Sul have occupied, since
November 6, the Barra do Ouro Indian area, which early this century
was invaded by speculators and corporations, such as the Zaffari
Supermarket Company, which has no title deed to the area it occupies.
For the Guarani, self-demarcating the 2,850-hectare area is the only
way to ensure the tenure of the land. ``Since Funai and the
government have not demarcated the area, we're going to do it,'' said
the leader of the Nemboaty Guassu Guarani Indian Organization, Manoel
The Indians decided to occupy the Barra do Ouro Indian area, whose
use was interdicted in 1988, after repeated requests for the Brazilian
government to do it. While they awaited an official decision for many
years, the Guarani were confined to a small area and some of them were
forced to live under bridges and in slums in cities, jeopardizing
their traditional culture. Those who tried to get back to their land
were expelled from it and threatened by the Zaffari Company. As soon
as they took possession of Barra do Ouro, the Guarani began to open
trails in the forest and plant crops. The Office of the Attorney
General and the Human Rights Commission of the State are
intermediating the issue, but the demarcation of Barra do Ouro clearly
depends on a political decision. In the south and southeast regions,
there are 61 Guarani areas, and only 12 of them have been officially
demarcated, none of which in Rio Grande do Sul.


A commission made up of Kaingang Indians, settlers and the Forum
on Land Conflicts of Santa Catarina came to Brasilia on November 8 for
an audience with the minister of Justice, Nelson Jobim. They wanted to
discuss a negotiated solution for the demarcation of the Toldo Pinhal
Indian area, comprising 893 hectares, which in the beginning of the
colonial period was illegally bought by a colonizing company and early
this century was sold to immigrants. Since then, many Indians were
decimated and others were expelled from the area and forced to live in
scattered spots in the region. Although they have been threatened to
die, a small group decided to stay and take care of the preparations
for the return of the around 400-Indian community.
At the audience, the delegation claimed than the land should be
returned to the Indians and that the settlers living in it should
receive a fair compensation for leaving. Minister Jobim heard all
arguments and just said he will check how much that compensation would
amount to and study what procedures should be adopted to demarcate the
Brasilia, November 13, 1995
Indianist Missionary Council