On October 28th, the Supreme Court in Brazil will be ruling on a landmark case that may lead to thousands of Indigenous people losing their lands and potentially their lives. The case specifically affects the Xokleng Indigenous people and their territory. If the Xokleng people lose their lands in this case, it will have repercussions for all Indigenous peoples throughout Brazil, as it sets a precedent for numerous other cases of Indigenous land rights. Legal analysts and Indigenous rights activists say that in the current political climate, it is extremely likely that the court will rule against the Xokleng, and that this is a life and death situation. Indigenous activists have also warned that this ruling is part of a government plan to use the COVID-19 pandemic to undermine Brazil’s Constitution, remove environmental protections, and open the Amazon to further deforestation and economic exploitation.
Beyond the legal implications, a ruling against the Xokleng people will encourage further, unprecedented violence against Indigenous people. Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro was elected on an openly anti Indigenous , pro-mining, pro-agrobusiness, pro-logging platform. This is a time when Indigenous communities across Brazil need to act in solidarity to support their rights to life, to their traditional and ancestral territories, and to their cultural identities. However, they also emphasize that this struggle is not just a struggle for themselves and their land, but also a struggle for the possibility of continued life on the planet.
What You Can Do
Our network of Indigenous communities, Teia de 5 Curas , is organizing a fundraiser for rural internet access for the most remote communities of the network in the Amazon region. Access to rural internet has proven to be a significant deterrent to territorial invasions by cattle ranchers in the most remote regions of the Amazon, where Indigenous communities experience greater vulnerability because of lack of access to fast communication. This infrastructure will bolster support to this region and quicken response time to threats to the land and livelihood of these communities.
This is a tangible project that will help communities act together and build bonds to strengthen the network. We are fundraising for internet access for three communities. Each community will receive $2000 ($1000 for the installation of satellite internet and $1000 for 10 months of monthly fees). The funds are being administered by the Musagetes Foundation in Canada, with 100% of the proceeds being transferred to the communities. Despite Musagetes’ charitable status in Canada, donations are not eligible for tax-receipts due to regulations governing charitable giving.
Towards Braiding is a program created and curated by Elwood Jimmy and Vanessa Andreotti to shape better generative relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. The principles of this work are described in the Towards Braiding book available here as a free download . The second book in that series is titled Towards Scarring the Collective Soul Wound, by Cash Ahenahew, available here.
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