News-Letter Nr. 536

Permanent land possession for the Guarani-Kaiow

The minister of Justice, Paulo de Tarso, signed administrative ruling 1,456 on Wednesday declaring that the 9,300-hectare ¥ande Ru Marangatu indigenous land in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul is to remain under the permanent possession of the Guarani-Kaiow people.

The administrative ruling considers ungrounded a plea filed by third parties who are against the identification and delimitation of the indigenous land.

Considered one of the largest indigenous peoples in Brazil, with a population of over 18,000, the Guarani-Kaiow have been facing various problems after being expelled from their land and confined to small spaces, without adequate means of survival. Pressured by the government to leave their lands and without the possibility of maintaining their rituals, a high number of members of this people have committed suicide, particularly youths - over 500 in 16 years.

The Guarani-Kaiow were violently expelled from the land they call Cerro Marangatu between the 1940s and 1950s. In those days, farmer Pio Silva even burned down their House of Prayers, killing about 20 indigenous people who tried to resist the attack, including many children.

The Cerro Marangatu indigenous land was reoccupied in 1998, fifty years after being invaded by farmer Pio Silva, father of the mayor of the D rcio Queiroz municipality in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul. About 500 indigenous people are in the land now, in an area where the Fronteira farm is located.

This community has relied at all moments on Cim's full support and solidarity and on the support of bishops of the region and of CNBB. On the occasion of the "For a Land Without Evil" Fraternity Campaign, this was one of the acts of violence reported both nationally and internationally.

Despite the legalization of this indigenous land, which constitutes a very important step, there are still dozens of Guarani areas requiring urgent measures. Perhaps this is one of the first challenges to be faced by the president-elect.

Commitment to indigenous people

The current situation of indigenous peoples after eight years of the Fernando Henrique Cardoso administration is difficult and marked by the neglect and omission of the State. Lands to be demarcated, murders without punishment, most indigenous lands invaded by non-indigenous people, among other problems, illustrate the predicament of indigenous people, which the next president will have to tackle.

During the electoral campaign, all the candidates made their promises and presented different governmental programs to their voters based on the ideology of their party, on economic interests, and on the exchange of support with other parties, unions, social movements, and representatives of civil society.

Lula presented the governmental program of his coalition (Workers' Party, Communist Party of Brazil, Liberal Party, National Mobilization Party, and Brazilian Communist Party) through a series of publications combined in the "Governmental Program Documents." Some of these proposals have become thematic documents. The indigenous issue is one of the themes addressed in them.

With 16 pages, the thematic document "Commitment with Indigenous Peoples" that was launched on the eve of the first ballot of the presidential election announced that "the indigenous policy of the Brazilian Government requires deep and substantial changes to meet the yearnings of indigenous peoples."

Among the main challenges to be faced by the Lula administration in relation to indigenous peoples, the land issue is included. As a matter of fact, Lula is perfectly aware of some critical situations, such as that of the Xukuru in the state of Pernambuco and that of the Makuxi and Wapixana in the Raposa/Serra do Sol area in the state of Roraima. These were some of the lands he visited in recent years.

Brasília, 31 October 2002
Indianist Missionary Council - Cimi

.. back to main page

For more details on the text you may want to contact Cimi directly under e-mail:

Webmaster Pro REGENWALD

We're happy to receive your comments or answer your questions. Please send your message to , if you want to contribute to this work