Informe Nr.º 542

The Goverment of contradictions

The same Government that did not confirm, in the state of Roraima, the bounds of the Raposa/Serra do Sol land, demarcated in 1998, awarded a prize to the Indigenous Council of Roraima (CIR), which has been struggling for the definitive tenure of the area. The CIR was nominated to the National Human Rights Prize for its performance as the main interlocutor of indigenous communities in the state in their contacts with competent authorities and agencies, for its struggle for the demarcation of indigenous lands, for its political achievements, for its actions in the health and education areas, for fostering the self-sustainability of the communities, and for improving their nutrition. This is one of the contradictions of this government, which for eight years has been neglectful in relation to the needs of the indigenous peoples of Brazil.

Together with 14,000 indigenous people who live in the Raposa/Serra do Sol area, the CIR has been struggling, since 1998, for the official confirmation of the bounds of their already demarcated territory. The delay to sign the homologating decree and the lack of respect for indigenous peoples have intensified the actions of anti-indigenous groups and of the government in the state. Last week, after the Higher Court of Justice turned down a request for repossession of the Raposa/ Serra do Sol indigenous land filed by the government of the State, these actions became stronger. We expect this government, which is at the end of a term of office marked by oppression and inaction, to officially confirm the bounds of the Raposa/Serra do Sol indigenous land before this year is over.

According to Joenia, CIR's lawyer, this prize represents the recognition of the struggle of the entity and of the indigenous peoples of Roraima for their rights, "but the larger prize would be the homologation of the Raposa/ Serra of the Sol indigenous land." According to Noberto Wapixana, vice-coordinator of the entity, this prize will not meet the needs of the indigenous communities of Roraima while the bounds of their territory are not confirmed officially.

Opening of the congress to celebrate CIMI'S 30th anniversary

Memory, Mission, and Utopia. These were the principles highlighted by Dom Franco Massedortti, president of the Indianist Missionary Council (Cimi), in the opening session of the Congress being held to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the entity in Luziƒnia, state of Goi s.

Missionaries, indigenous leaders, authorities, and groups that support the indigenous cause are taking part in the celebrations.

The alternate of the indigenous senator for the state of Acre, Ant"nio ApurinÆ, pointed out the work carried out by Cimi to preserve the culture and the history of resistance of indigenous peoples, "Cimi is part of a history that will never die." He took advantage of the occasion to praise the union between the Council and the indigenous peoples: "This is a great 30-year partnership and I am sure that all of us have reasons to celebrate it."

As a token of their commitment, the indigenous people danced the tor‚ (indigenous ritual) of the Patax¢ and quoted a passage of the Bible about the importance of keeping up the struggle for the land: "Tell the people to advance, we will advance"

The Congress will continue until Sunday, December 15, when the end of the fraternity campaign will be celebrated.

Brasília, 12 December 2002.
Cimi - Conselho Indigenista Missionário

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