BRASILIA – Hundreds of Indians from different tribes began to set up camp Monday in Brasilia, where they plan to stay until next Friday demanding more respect for their villages from the government of President Michel Temer.
The Terra Livre camp, which every year since 2003 has been set up in the capital, is part of the so-called “National Mobilization Week of Indigenous Peoples” and generally coincides with the National Day of the Indian, celebrated last April 9.
Over the coming days, a series of activities will be held in the camp, from religious and cultural rituals to debates on the delicate state of the almost 600 reservations that exist in the country and which lack adequate sanitation and security.
According to a document released Monday by the indigenous movements organizing the camp, the Temer government has “paralyzed” the process of establishing new reservations and has “chosen a clear attitude of confrontation” toward native peoples.
“Never like today in the last 30 years has the Brazilian government had such a completely negative view of the rights of indigenous peoples,” the document says, which adds that the government’s “political decision” has led to a renewed outbreak of violence in many villages located on land claimed by big landowners.
According to a report released last week by the Pastoral Land Commission (CPT), an organization associated with the Catholic Church, 70 deaths were recorded around the country in 2017 related to conflicts over land, a number 15 percent higher than in 2016 (61) and the most in the past 14 years.
The study noted that the great majority of victims were farm workers, landless country folk, Indians, descendents of fugitive slaves, settlers and fishermen.
It also warned that the number could increase if authorities confirm a massacre of 10 Indians isolated from civilization that occurred between July and August 2017 in the Javari Valley of Amazonas state, which was reported by indigenous groups and is still under investigation.