Rich man’s trash, Indigenous man’s treasure

Not too long after a landmark win for indigenous peoples in Raposa – Serra do Sol, it seems the fight for rights is a continuous process, even though the land they live on has been afforded to them by Brazilian law and the fact that they were there first. In a video from 2007, Journeyman Pictures reported on a Guarani tribe fighting the company Aracruz, a cellulose manufacturer, who has been turning their land into eucalyptus plantations. What is then produced from the eucalyptus is toilet paper for Europeans…which means the produce from the Guarani land is disposable while shedding light on how the word like value can take on different meanings to different people.

Anyways, here is a short video recap on the Raposa – Serra do Sol issue, plus my own reporting on it. Now, here is the video on the Guarani struggle.

Indian reservation cleared of farmers

As a follow-up to two previous stories about indigenous rights at Raposa Serra do Sol, here’s what should be the happy ending.


“It follows a landmark ruling by the country’s Supreme Court that the Raposa Serra do Sol reservation should be solely for indigenous people.

The non-indigenous rice farmers and farm workers say they are victims of “legalised robbery”.

But the authorities say they will be properly compensated.

In March, Brazil’s Supreme Court ruled that the area in the northern border state of Roraima should be maintained as a single continuous territory exclusively for use by the indigenous population.

The decision was hailed as a major victory for indigenous rights, and was also regarded as setting an important precedent for future court cases.

However, the ruling was also a defeat for the non-indigenous rice producers and farm workers who lived and worked in the area, and who said their removal would undermine the economy of Roraima.

Around 300 police and soldiers are now reported to have begun an operation to remove any remaining rice producers and farm workers from the 1.7 million hectare reservation.

There were said to be around 30 non-indigenous families in the reservation as the deadline approached, but the authorities say force will only be used if they meet with violent resistance.

Some of the rice producers have been criticised for destroying farm buildings as they left the area.”

Source (more here)

Indians actually get to keep their land

“By 10 votes to one, judges ruled to maintain an Indian reservation in the northern border state of Roraima as a single, continuous territory.

It means that a small group of outside rice farmers with plantations in the area will now have to leave.

The head of the court also accused the government of failing the Indians.

This was the third occasion the court had met to reach a decision on the question, and the delays appeared to be just another indication of the sensitivity involved, the BBC’s Gary Duffy reports from Brazil.

The Raposa Serra do Sol reservation, which stretches more than 1.7m hectares (4.2m acres) along the Venezuelan border, is home to up to 20,000 Amazonian Indians.

Indigenous leaders had feared a ruling against them would have signalled to land-owners and loggers that it was acceptable to invade their territory.”

More on this story here at BBC. For the story which preceded it, go here. Unfortunately, in addition to rice farmers and surely logging companies, there’s also gold miners illegally mining gold from indigeneous territories, such as in this 25 minute documentary on the subject.