« ‘Time frame’ is a path of the enemies of the forest against my people. ‘Time frame’ for me means stealing more Yanomami land. Stealing more from our lands that have already been demarcated, ratified and registered by the Brazilian government. »
– Spokesperson and shaman Yanomami Davi Kopenawa
Since August 22nd, over 6,000 native people from 176 indigenous nations have gathered outside Brazil’s Supreme Court in Brasilia to demand that the justices rule in their favor and reject the time limit date of 1988, adopted by the Bolsonaro government in 2016 and promoted by the agribusiness, cattle ranching, logging and gold mining sectors.
The legal appeal by the Xokleng people of Santa Catarina state, maintaining that the « time frame » is an overly narrow interpretation of indigenous rights that recognizes only the lands occupied by native communities at the time Brazil’s constitution was ratified in 1988, is the case that is now being debated in the Supreme Court.
Xokleng communities were forced off their ancestral lands by European settlers over a century ago. If the case is decided in favor of the Xokleng and their land is restored, 830 farmers face eviction from homesteads on land originally stolen from the Xokleng by their mainly German ancestors.
If, however, the « time frame » – the « milestone thesis » limit for indigenous land claims is upheld in court it would set a precedent for the repudiation of indigenous rights which the far-right President has been promoting since his election. He has stated that indigenous peoples have too much land, obstructing the expansion of business interests and extractive industries.
Satellite photos show clearly that indigenous reserves contain the most protected, intact forest areas in Brazil:
According to the United Nations special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples: « If the Supreme Court accepts the so-called… ‘time frame’ argument in its ruling on land demarcation, it could legitimize violence against indigenous peoples and inflame conflicts in the Amazon rainforest and other areas. »
Indigenous people at the « Struggle for Life » camp hold banners proclaiming « Bolsonaro Out! » and « Indigenous territory is life » and « Our history doesn’t begin in 1988. We have resisted for more than 12,000 years! »
The judgment on the issue of the “time frame” of the demarcation of Indigenous Lands has now been suspended until September 1st.
THE MOBILIZATION CONTINUES! Indigenous peoples from all over Brazil are still gathered at the « Struggle for Life » camp in Brasília against « Marco Temporal Não » and in defense of their rights!
More information about the activities organized by the Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil are here:
You can help them by donating financial resources to maintain the camp during this additional week of mobilization! Thank you!
Here is the link in English and Portuguese: doa.re/lutapelavida