Landmark Supreme Court Case Threatens the Lives and Lands of Indigenous People in Brazil

October 23, 2020

The Decolonial Futures collective is organizing an international solidarity journey in support of the Indigenous peoples in Brazil who are affected by the upcoming landmark case against the Xokleng people.

The journey will happen on October 24 and 25 at 11 am (São Paulo time) and on October 26 and 27 at 8 pm (São Paulo time). The sessions will happen here. See more information below. There is also a crowdfunding link at the bottom of this article.

24 October – 11 am* / Huni Kui community
25 October – 11 am* / Fulni-ô community
26 October – 8 pm* / Pitaguary community
27 October – 8 pm* / Tremembé community
*All in São Paulo time. Adjust to your timezone here

Sessions live at on YouTube. To see archived videos of the solidarity sessions, click here.

The Supreme Court in Brazil will be ruling on a landmark case on October 28 that may lead to thousands of Indigenous people losing their lands and potentially their lives. The case specifically affects the Xokleng Indigenous people and their territory. If the Xokleng people lose their lands in this case, it will have repercussions for all Indigenous peoples throughout Brazil, as it sets a precedent for numerous other cases of Indigenous land rights. UPDATE: The Supreme Court announced on October 23 that the case will be postponed; no details were provided.

Beyond the legal implications, a ruling against the Xokleng people will encourage further, unprecedented violence against Indigenous people. Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro was elected on an openly anti-Indigenous, pro-mining, pro-agrobusiness, pro-logging platform.

Bolsonaro has repeatedly been extremely offensive and violent towards indigenous culture and life, disseminating fake news such as blaming indigenous people for the recent fires in the Amazon and Pantanal regions, as well as publicly stating they should have been exterminated long ago, and those that are left should be thankful to be assimilated.

If the court rules against the constitutional rights of the Xokleng, it will threaten existing Indigenous rights, including reversing existing land demarcation. Legal analysts and Indigenous rights activists say that in the current political climate, it is extremely likely that the court will rule against the Xokleng, and that this is a life and death situation. Indigenous activists have also warned that this ruling is part of a government plan to use the COVID-19 pandemic to undermine Brazil’s Constitution, remove environmental protections and open the Amazon to further deforestation and economic exploitation.

Indigenous people have issued a call for unity and international solidarity to support their rights to life, to their traditional and ancestral territories, and to their cultural identities. However, they also emphasize that this struggle is not just a struggle for themselves and their land, but also a struggle for the possibility of continued life on the planet.

International Solidarity Journey

The network of Indigenous communities, Teia das 5 Curas, is organizing a 4-day schedule of international solidarity sessions with Indigenous groups in Brazil from October 24 to 27. The sessions will be transmitted live on YouTube and over Zoom. People will be together each day for one hour, connecting through Indigenous ancestral songs (there will be no talking and no translations).

At the request of these communities, these are not ‘teach-ins’, but an invitation to be in ceremony, connecting through our bodies, our senses, and our ancestors. These sessions seek to remind us of our political and spiritual responsibilities to each other, to Indigenous peoples, and to the land as a living entity.

The Decolonial Futures collective is also organizing a fundraiser for rural internet access for the most remote communities of the network in the Amazon region. Access to rural internet has proven to be a significant deterrent of territorial invasions by cattle ranchers in the most remote regions of the Amazon where Indigenous communities experience greater vulnerability because of lack of access to fast communication.

Link for crowdfunding within Brazil

Link for International crowdfunding

View All News