Friday, April 17, 2015

Fighting a Low-Intensity War, Indigenous Tupinamba Recover Their Land in Brazil

The extreme south of the state of Bahia in northeastern Brazil is a region of intense conflict over indigenous lands. A judge asked Rosivaldo Ferreira da Silva, a leader from the indigenous Babau tribe, about the actions the Tupinamba are taking in order to recover their ancestral lands from the hands of rich landowners.

"You said that your Enchanted One - the spirit of the ancestors of the Tupinamba - ordered you to take back your lands and that you will not return them, even if that means you have to die in a confrontation with the police," the judge said. Da Silva responded: "Exactly."

The judge, trying to change the idea that he had proposed, said, "But we can propose something that can mediate this situation. We can offer a basket of basic goods to families, something that they can live off of."

Da Silva, indignant, responded, "We the Tupinamba, this is how we are, judge. If food is lacking in our homes, we will eat wild plants; we will eat what the land gives us; we are not going to ask for anything from anyone. Because then we would be allowing others to govern our lives."


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