Sepé Tiaraju Encounter – 2009

Sepé Tiaraju Encounter
Regional Assembly of the Guarani Indigenous People
São Gabriel – Rio Grande do Sul – BRAZIL
5, 6 and 7 February of 2009-02-10

To all peoples of the world.

On this day 7 of February, we observe 253 years since the death of Sepé Tiaraju and the massacre of Caiboaté, in which the Spanish and Portuguese army killed 1500 warriors in order to occupy the territory of the ancient Guarani Republic. It was 253 years ago that the Guarani People made the decision to isolate themselves and break contact with the non-indians, reappearing little more than three decades ago to reclaim their space, as there was already no longer anywhere to conceal themselves due to the absurd and disordered growth of the cities that cut down the forests, polluted the lands and waters of the rivers.

In three days, reunited in São Gabriel, in the place where Sepé Tiaraju fell, we meet once again, caciques, Karai, Kunha Karaí and other leaders, Guarani men, women and children, descendents of the warriors of Sepé Tiaraju, to converse, to counsel ourselves and to evaluate our situation. Hearing the words coming from the villages of the state of Paraná, Santa Catarina and Rio Grands do Sul, we are concerned with the future and we conclude: without land to create the village, there is no way to live the culture, in this way, in the present situation, our Guarani life is threatened.

We feel regret in denouncing that those who should be our greatest ally, the organ created to work exclusively with the Indigenous Peoples of Brazil, the National Foundation of the Indian – FUNAI, is not complying with its role and comes demonstrating fear in regularizing our Indigenous Lands. Our communities relate sorrows and sufferings that come to pass through delay of the bureaucratic channels. Thus, we ask for greater agility and courage toward inauguration of the Working Groups for the anthropological surveys of the villages that have for years been at the side of highways, subject to expulsion from their homes, as occurred in Arroio do Conde, Eldorado do Sul, RS, in July of 2008, that families suffer from a reintegration of possession and had their homes destroyed by Military Brigade, it being that they do not occupy any property, but the margins of the street. The [village of] Aldeia Lami, in greater Porto Alegre, also dreads suffering the same and asks for agility from FUNAI in the proceedings for identification in order to guarantee their area.

The same reality of neglect and abandonment occurs in the lands of Petim, Passo Grande, Coxilha da Cruz, Estiva, Lomba do Pinheiro, in greater Porto Alegre, RS, which also awaits the Working Groups for identification and demarcation, which was to have already been started in 2008.

In Yrapuá, Caçapava do Sul, RS, which had its anthropological study concluded and the community is still at the side of the street hoping to enter the area, but the process was halted in the FUNAI. In Pacheca, Camaquã, there has been conflict with non-indians who have disrespected the limits of the area and grazed cattle that destroyed the planted fields of the community, and there was no intervention by the indigenist organ. In Cantagalo, Viamão, which still await the removal of non-indians, who still have not received the payment benefits [of indemnification] to leave. Also the Indigenous Land Mato Preto, in Getúlio Vargas, that faces the slowness in the publication of the anthropological study that proves the traditional Guarani occupation in the region.

In Santa Catarina, we denounce the delay with the situation of the Indigenous Land Araça’í, which in 1998 initiated its struggle for demarcation, but were removed from the area, their demarcation suffered cancellation via judicial action, already revoked, and still are scattered in other villages to wait for FUNAI to initiate the foundational study for indemnification of the non-indians, which being delayed, is causing tension among farmers in the region. We emphasize that it is the same situation for Morro dos Cavalos, which obtained its demarcation in April of 2008, and still waits for the subsequent process of removal of the non-indian families. Likewise in the areas in the north of the state that initiated the demarcation process and already suffer pressure from projects, widening of highways, railroads and ports that are planned for construction near the areas and, therefore, ask for greater attention from the responsible organs.

In the state of Paraná that, since the installation of the Itaipu [hydroelectric dam], our communities had their areas flooded and live at the edge of the reservoir still today, in hope of resolutions. In the municipalities of São Miguel do Iguaçu and of Santa Helena Velha they are in small encampments, suffering with lack of space to plant, without health care and food, wait for FUNAI and Itaipu to resettle the communities, which still has not occurred. In the same way are the communities of Guaíra and Terra Roxa, which wait for regularization of areas that, each day, lose space to the expansion of the cities.

We denounce also the situation of the areas impacted by the widening of the highway BR-101 in Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul, which still have not received any support. What we do not want is a repeat with the widening of BR 116, RS, which begins.

We ask for support from civil society and greater diligence from the organs responsible for resolution of our problems. Already there is no longer time to lose. The fear that we dread is the fear that we face every day in the villages, because when we speak of the non-indians, we run the risk of being imprisoned or expulsed from our areas, but when it is they that we remove from our lands, they discriminate, they do not comply with the Law, we know, nothing happens.

“This land has a lord!” This was the cry of Sepé Tiaraju on February 7 of 1756 and continues to be echoed by us, the Indigenous Guarani People, and our organizations. And this is how it will be, until our rights are respected, maintaining hope that one day, instead of the cry, we can return to intone canticles.

São Gabriel, 7 February of 2009

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