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CESE begins the year with internal training about the indigenous issue

On the morning of Wednesday 21 February, CESE and the Coordination of Indigenous Organizations of the Brazilian Amazon (COIAB: Coordenação das Organizações Indígenas da Amazônia) came together to improve understanding about indigenous peoples, to examine issues about rights violations and to identify challenges for these populations, towards a future partnership between these organizations.

The aim of the meeting was to discuss indigenous themes internally with the team; these run from cultural issues to political themes, particularly given the current Brazilian political situation of the destruction of indigenous and environmental policies.  The following were invited to share their experiences: Kleber Karipuna from Amapá, Mário Nicácio from the Wapichana people of Roraima and Alan Apurinã from Amazonas.

Mário Wapichana stated that, although the indigenous have historically lived with the spoliation of their way of life, their lands and their culture, in the current political situation their physical and cultural reproduction is threatened through the activities of large-scale projects and economic plans: “With this illegitimate government, our hard-won rights are being threatened in an offensive by the rural caucus.”

Kleber Karipuna added: “Not to mention the Time Limit, which is an interpretation through which the Indians only have right to lands occupied in 1988. This is unconstitutional, since the Constitution recognizes the original rights of indigenous peoples”.

Alan Apurinã touched on themes such as the diversity of the peoples, their habits and beliefs, as well as the importance of spirituality in their relationship with the world and with nature.  Furthermore, the CESE team asked questions and demonstrated interest in the organization and coordination of indigenous feminism, among other gender issues.

Sônia Mota, CESE’s Executive Director, ended the meeting noting her sense that this was a very important moment of sharing and outlining the organization’s position: “We chose this theme for the first training of the year so that CESE can continue acting for the strengthening of indigenous peoples in their struggle and defence of a more dignified and just life”.

About COIAB

Founded in 1989 and based in the city of Manaus, COIAB is the largest indigenous organization in Brazil.  In all, it represents 160 peoples from nine states in the Amazon, namely: Acre, Amapá, Amazonas, Maranhão, Mato Grosso, Pará, Rondônia, Roraima and Tocantins. Together they cover approximately 60% of the total indigenous population in the country, approximately 440 thousand people.  They also include 403 demarcated Indigenous Lands and many other territories which have not yet been regulated.

 

 

 

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