CESE supports national mobilization for 18th Free Land Camp

Brasilia woke up to an occupation. On 4 April 2022, indigenous people from all the regions of Brazil took over the Federal District to fight the violence from big business that has hijacked the State in order to attack their rights.  This was the beginning of the Free Land Camp, which continued until 14 April.  “Retaking Brazil: demarcate the territories and indigenize the politics,” was the central theme of the 18th Free Land Camp.

The fight for the demarcation of lands brought together thousands of indigenous people from different peoples in the country’s capital.  According to data from the Association of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (Articulação dos Povos Indígenas do Brasil: APIB), of the 1,298 Indigenous Lands in Brazil, 829 (63%) are waiting on pending State action in order to finalize their demarcation process, while no action has been taken by the State in 536 (64%) of these cases.

Attacks through legislative and legal channels have been constant, for example, the proposed Temporal Framework (Marco Temporal), which is currently under discussion at the Federal Supreme Court in the form of Draft Bill (Projeto de Lei: PL) 490/2007 and PL 191/2020, which would allow mining companies and other sectors to operate within Indigenous Lands. Other PLs are on the National Congress priority agenda, such as 6299/2002 (Pesticides); 2633/2020 and 510/2021 (Land Grabbing); and 3729/2004 (Environmental Licensing).

All these bills will directly affect the lives of original peoples and, as the final result of all this legal architecture, are aimed at their extermination.  Under circumstances in which the State itself is attempting to legalize massacres, CESE reasserts its commitment to all the indigenous peoples of Brazil and supports their fight in Brasilia throughout April, with direct support provided to groups that travelled to the federal capital.

So far, a total of BRL 122,300 has been granted to 288 beneficiaries from dozens of peoples – Potiguara, Tapuia, Tapeba, Kariri, Tremembé, Pitaguary, Tupi Guarani, Guarani Mbya, Pataxó, Caxixó, Xukuru Kariri, Parakanã and others – spread around 7 different states – Ceará, Mato Grosso, Minas Gerais, Rio Grande do Norte, Rio de Janeiro, Pará and São Paulo.

One of the greatest expressions of CESE’s commitment to indigenous peoples over its 48 years of existence has been financial support to small projects that symbolize the struggle for resistance and the guarantee of cultural and territorial rights for this sector.  In the last five years alone, 233 initiatives have been supported through the Small Projects Programme, through a total of BRL 2,530,498.00 in grants, benefiting approximately 26 thousand families.

Over the 11 days of their occupation of Brasilia, indigenous people held plenaries about youth and diversity, debates about education, health, ancestry, the future and other mobilizations.  The complete 2022 Free Land Camp programme can be seen here.