National Meeting of the Indigenous Peoples and Organisations of Brazil

25-30 April 2003


We, the indigenous leaders of 54 peoples from all the regions of the country, united at the National Meeting of Indigenous Peoples and Organisations of Brazil, involving 250 participants, at the Vicente Canas Training Centre, Luziânia in Goias, between 25 and 30 April 2003, discussed the indigenist policy that we want, based on the concrete reality of the experiences of our communities.

We are profoundly concerned with the escalation in violence against our peoples which since the beginning of this year has resulted in the murder of seven Indians, as a result of the failure to guarantee our territories and as a result of prejudice.

In the four months since the present government came to power, when hopes won out over fear, we are surprised that an indigenist policy has still not been defined and that the delays over the ratification of the Indigenous Territories continue. The National Security Council''s review of the demarcation process was flagrantly illegal. We state that the violence against our peoples is growing, owing to the government''s inability to guarantee our historical rights to the land which we have traditionally occupied.

We do not accept the superimposition of Conservation Areas in indigenous lands, because they compromise our rights to the exclusive usufruct of ours land''s natural riches and create enormous difficulties for our communities.

We hope that, after the long years of struggle, the government will finally guarantee public policies in the areas of education, health and sustainability which are specific and differentiated,permitting respect for ethnic and cultural diversity and the resources necessary for their implementation.

We emphatically reject the proposal made by Senator Mozarildo Cavalcanti to limit the area of indigenous lands and violate our natural rights to the land that we have traditionally occupied. We also condemn other proposals for constitutional amendments we which restrict our rights and permits others to exploit natural resources in our lands.

We want the Indigenous Peoples Statute to be approved, after a broad-based discussion with the indigenous peoples and organisations of Brazil, so that the statute strengthens ours rights and meets our needs.

We recognise the enormous importance of the initiative to create the Parliamentary Front for the Defence of Indigenous Rights and hope that the Front will work for the approval of the proposals put forward by the indigenous movement.

Considering the situation, we propose:

1. The creation of a Commission for Indigenist Policy to formulate the Brazilian government''s policy, based on a broad process of indigenous participation, which will be temporary, until the creation of a Ministry of Indigenous Affairs.

2. The creation of a Ministry of Indigenous Affairs to strengthen public policies which safeguard our historical and constitutional rights and attend to the needs of our peoples.

3. The immediate ratification of the Raposa Serra do Sol Indigenous Territory and of other indigenous areas awaiting a final decree from the President of the Republic.

4. The punishment of the murderers of our leaders (Aldo da Silva Mota - Macuxi/roraima; Leopoldo Crespo - Kaingang/Rio Grande do Sul; Marcos Veron - Guarani-Kaiowá/Mato Grosso do Sul; Adenilson Barbosa Xucuru/Pernambuco; Joseilton José Atikum/Pernambuco; João Batista Truká/Pernambuco; Roberto Batista Truká/Pernambuco, Cacique Joaquim Xavante/Mato Grosso and Raimundo Silvino Shawanawá/Acre) and urgent action to solve the problems faced by the following peoples: Xuxuru de Ororubá/Pernambuco, Tuxá/Bahia, Pataxó Hã-Hã-Hãe/Bahia, Pataxó/Bahia, Cinta Larga/Roraima and the people of the Raposa Serra do Sol Indigenous Territory.

5. The immediate removal of all invaders from the Uru-Eu-Wau-Wau Indigenous Territory and the Karipuna Indigenous Territory in Rondonia and the Guajajara IT in Maranhão which have been invaded by loggers and squatters.

6. Greater agility in the identification and demlimitation of indigenous territories.

7. The recognition of resurgent indigenous peoples and the demarcation of their lands.

8. The immediate removal of intruders from traditionally occupied indigenous lands to safeguard our rights and eradicate violence.

9. That urgent measures be taken to impose an embargo on all hydroelectric plants which effect the Rio Branco Indigenous Territory in the Alta Floresta region of Rondonia, which threaten the physical and cultural integrity of the affected indigenous communities, as occured in the case of the Tuxa in Bahia.

10. A guarantee of agreement with Article 231 of the Federal Constitution, that the natural resources be used exclusively by indigenous communities, prohibiting exploration of resources by others.

11. That Decree 1775/96 which restrict our rights over our lands and Decree 4.412/02, which allows the military and Federal Police to enter indigenous territories and is flagrantly unconstitutional, be revoked.

12. The approval of the Indigenous Peoples Statute by the National Congress.

13. That Conservation Areas in Indigenous Territories be revoked.

14. The guarantee of specific financial resources allocated for the demarcation and protection of the land, health, education and sustainability of our peoples as detailed in the Five-Year Plan 2004-2007.

15. That a National Conference on Indigenous Education be held.

16. The creation of a National Department for Indigenous Education at the Ministry of Education and Culture.

17. A guarantee of a indigenous representative from the National Education Council in the Senate.

18. A guarantee of indigenous participation in national and state departments which deals with indigenous education.

19. The administrative and financial autonomy of the DSEIs, ensuring compliance with the resolutions of the 3rd National Health Conference.

20. A guarantee of four indigenous representatives on the National Health Council.

21. The guarantee of indigenous participation in senior positions in the DSEIs.

22. The exoneration of the co-ordinator of the Department Indigenous Health at the National Health Foundation.

23. The creation of the conditions necessary for the strengthening of the social control of public policies affecting our peoples.

24. The elaboration of a specific policy for the sustainability of our communities, through the formulation of programmes related to the protection and environmental recuperation of our lands, support indigenous economies and the certification of our products.

"We ask for respect for our way of being, which is how we want to continue to be".
Augusto Kaingang, cacique of the Irai Village, Rio Grande do Sul.

Luziânia - Goias, 30 April 2003.

This meeting was organised by the Brazilian Indigenous Missionary Council (CIMI). This document was obtained for NativeWeb from an Indigenous representative who was in the meeting. The official text of the document is on the CIMI website.