Indigenous peoples to Bolsonaro: “We Refuse to be Treated as Inferior beings”

In interviews and during the campaign the new Brazilian president Bolsonaro (PSL)declared that he will extinguish the Ministry of the Environment and the Chico Mendes Institute of Biodiversity Conservation (ICMBio).  He also publicly stated that he will grant “no centimeter of land” to natives and quilombolas.

 Bolsonaro said today that allowing indigenous people to live in protected reserves is to treat them as animals in zoos, and added new criticisms against the demarcation of their ancestral lands.

Other intentions already expressed by Bolsonaro would be to remove Brazil from the so-called Paris Agreement, which provides for the limitation of global temperature increase below 2 ° or 1.5 ° Celsius. and to let the public freely buy guns.

Bolsonaro (PSL) promised to cancel 129 new demarcations of indigenous land that are currently underway. About 120,000 indigenous people live in these mostly very remote lands (Funai). In the case of the 436 already recognized indigenous lands  he stated that they will be opened to infrastructure projects such as hydroelectric, roads, railroads and mining activities, though this might go against the Constitution..

see also  Bolsonaro’s insults to Cubans leave half of Indigenous population without doctors  (in Portuguese)

Association of Indigenous Peoples protests ‘Animals in Zoos’ statements by Bolsonaro and establishes priorities for the government

December 2018…
“We are only different, it is an obligation of the federal government according to the Constitution, to respecting our social organization” –

APIBO     ” President Bolsonaro (PSL) made a general and careless statement about indigenous peoples, disrespecting the conventions, diversities and pluralities of those peoples and individuals. Similar phrases were also uttered during the campaign, causing concern and outrage among indigenous people throughout the country.
He said.. “The Indians want to integrate into society. Some sectors of the press did a bad thing with me. I’m going to tell it here. The Indians want electric power, they want a doctor, they want a dentist, they want the internet, they want to play soccer. They want what we want. (…) Here in Brazil, some want the Indians to continue inside a reserve as if they were animals in a zoo. … “said Bolsonaro.
The declaration motivated the mobilization of organizations in the area, such as the APIB (Articulation of the Indigenous Peoples of Brazil), which disseminated this comprehensive letter with demands  to the far-right politician:
“We do not admit to being treated as inferior beings, as it has resonated in your Excellency’s statements. We are different only, being an obligation of the federal government according to the Constitution, to respect our “social organization, customs, languages, beliefs and traditions” (article 231 of the Constitution). We repudiate, therefore, its pejorative and reduced understanding of considering ourselves animals in zoos “, protest the APIB.The document was delivered to the headquarters of the transition government, at the Banco de Brasil Cultural Center (CCBB) in Brasilia (DF). By establishing 11 priorities for the new government, the association calls for respect for fundamental rights and the continuity of public policies.Read the letter of the APIB on Bolsonaro’s statement, as follows:



To Mr. Jair Bolsonaro   …   President-elect of Brazil

Mr. president,       In recent days, organs of the press have circulated a series of statements by Your Excellency regarding the indigenous question, with statements that tarnish the image and dignity of our peoples and communities and that are concerned to demonstrate, on the one hand, the lack of knowledge about our constitutional rights, and on the other, a vision of assimilationist, retrograde, authoritarian, prejudicial, discriminatory, racist and integrationist indigenism, removed from our country more than 30 years ago by the Citizen Constitution of 1988.

Supported by the right of expression ensured by the Federal Constitution, the Articulation of the Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (APIB) – instance of agglutination and national reference of the Brazilian indigenous movement -, through this letter expresses its indignation and repudiation of its manifestations and its intentions to make the promotion of the rights of our peoples impossible, with threats to end the demarcation of indigenous territories – fundamental rights of indigenous peoples and constitutional

duties of responsibility of the Union -, to transfer FUNAI to inadequate governmental structures, putting it at risk of starvation, and of opening our traditional territories to the interests of agribusiness, mining, civil construction and other large ventures with a socio-environmental impact, in short, of trying to impose, authoritatively and without hearing our voice, another model of life for indigenous peoples, aimed at suppressing our fundamental right to a differentiated ethnic and cultural identity.


The largest indigenous reserve in Brazil is endangered with Bolsonaro ..18 Dec 2018 –The new Brazilian far-right president promised to legalize mining and commercial agriculture on the lands of the Yanomami indigenous people. The NGO Survival International, which deals with the rights of indigenous people in voluntary isolation, has warned that in Brazil there are about a hundred uncontacted tribes, more than anywhere else in the world, and all of them are in danger unless that their lands be protected …SIGUE LEYENDO AQUÍ  (in Spanish)

The Brazilian Constitution of 1988, your Excellency President, in Article 231, is exhaustive: “The Indians are recognized for their social organization, customs, languages, beliefs and traditions, and the original rights over the territories they traditionally occupy, giving the State the job of delineating them, protecting them and reinforcing all their assets. ”

– To transfer FUNAI (The Indigenous Affairs Organisation) to inadequate governmental structures, puts it at risk of starvation, and opens our traditional territories to the interests of agro-business, mining, civil construction and other large undertakings with socio-environmental impact, in short, to seek to impose, authoritatively and without hearing our voice, another model of life for indigenous peoples, designed to suppress our fundamental right to a differentiated ethnic and cultural identity.

In addition to recognizing the ethnic and cultural diversity of the country, of which indigenous peoples are part, the Constitution does not grant, but recognizes the original right of our peoples, ending centuries of very serious violations of rights, including mass deaths and forced territorial removals, including during the military regime from 1964 to 1985. As a reference, that territorial right is officially recognized from the Royal Permit of April 1, 1680, still during the Imperial Period, and reiterated in all Brazilian Constitutions, from 1934.

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by Steph Yin   For Indigenous Communities, The Fight Against Climate Change Is a Fight For Human Rights        In a protest in Brazil last spring, indigenous people held funeral processions with hundreds of symbolic coffins to represent those from their communities killed in land conflicts….

Note that the recognition of the fundamental and original right of indigenous peoples to their traditional lands was given, according to the National Constituent Assembly itself, because, “as for the land, recognizing that for the Indians it means one’s life, it was stipulated that they have the right to permanent possession, and they tried to guarantee their definitive demarcation. “[1] In the end, as the Federal Supreme Court always pointed out:” There is no Indian without land. The relationship with the soil is a characteristic mark of the indigenous essence, because everything that he is, is in the earth and with the earth.

Hence the importance of land for the guarantee of their rights, all linked in one way or another to the land. It is what is extracted from the body of art. 231 of the Constitution. (…) Therefore, there is no point in recognizing rights without securing their territories, identifying and demarcating them. “[2] On the other hand, that is the reason why the Constitution affirms, in § 4.º of article 231, that “the territories referred to in this article are inalienable and unavailable, and the rights over them, imprescriptible.”

The affirmation that our peoples can constitute “new countries in the future”, demonstrates frank ignorance of the related legislation, since the Constitution itself establishes in Article 20 that indigenous territories are the Land of the Union. In addition, for your information, in no country in Latin America, even where the indigenous population is the majority, are there people who think of constituting another country.

The proof is the maturity with which indigenous leaders from around the world agreed with the states that make up the UN, including Brazil, the articles of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, including its article 46, which states: “Nothing provided in this Declaration shall be interpreted as conferring on a State, people, group or person any right to participate in an activity or to perform an act contrary to the Charter of the United Nations or shall be understood as authorizing or to encourage any action aimed at dismembering or reducing, totally or partially, the territorial integrity or political unity of the States. ”

Since it is a fundamental right provided for by the Federal Constitution and the indigenous territories are the property of the Union, compliance with its demarcation and protection could never be considered harmful or threatening to Brazil.

On the contrary, what undermines national sovereignty, democracy and the interests of the Brazilian people is precisely to violate fundamental rights and duties explicit in the Charter of the Republic and to impose a model of development with irreversible impacts on our traditional peoples and territories. more environmentally preserved in the country.

Brazil is the richest country in the world in tropical forests, water resources, biodiversity, fertile soils and other goods. The preservation of the environment provided by indigenous peoples is a fundamental right of the entire Brazilian society (Article 225 of the Constitution), which is only possible thanks to the harmonious relationship that our peoples maintain millennially with Mother Nature.

‘See that jungle.. we’re never going to leave it..we’ll die for it if we have to.’

It is precisely this preservation that allows the guarantee of the quality of healthy life of the Brazilian population and Brazil’s own development, since all economic activities depend on maintaining environmental services provided free of charge by the forests, including the maintenance of our water regime…

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Indigenous groups, Amazon’s best land stewards, under federal attack.  According to 2014 data for Legal Amazonia, 59 percent of that year’s illegal deforestation occurred on privately held lands, 27 percent in conservation units, 13 percent in agrarian reform settlements, and a mere 1 percent on indigenous lands — demonstrating that indigenous land stewards are the best at limiting deforestation. Indigenous groups control large reserves in the Amazon and have the constitutional right to more, but land thieves and agribusiness are working to prevent recognition of new indigenous territories — forested territories that, if protected, could sequester a great deal of climate change-causing carbon. ..”The problem is that the Indians have lands these political actors want.” — Márcio Meira, former head of FUNAI, Brazil’s Indian affairs agency.

As the Brazilian and international scientific community has warned, “the removal of forests, threatening rainfall and climate, would not defeat only competitive agriculture; the lack (or excess) of water affects the production of energy, industries, the supply of populations and life in cities. “[3]

That is why we do not admit to being treated as inferior beings, as has resonated in your Excellency’s statements. We are only different, being an obligation of the federal government according to the Constitution, to respect our “social organization, customs, languages, beliefs and traditions” (article 231 of the Constitution). We therefore repudiate his pejorative and reduced understanding of considering ourselves like animals in zoos.

The development model that we defend and implement in our lands is also different from what your Excellency says, because we seek to strengthen the sustainability and environmental management of our territories. We reject any type of predatory exploration of natural assets and we demand that our knowledge and concepts of good living be respected.

Instead of attacking and defaming our peoples, Your Excellency has the obligation, by constitutional imposition, to execute public policies that do justice to the level of democracy reached by Brazil, ensuring the full and unrestricted compliance of the Federal Constitution and international treaties. ratified by Brazil. For that, in line with the constitutional and legal mandates applicable to the federal government, we strive for attention to the following proposals and demands of our peoples:

Keep FUNAI linked to the Ministry of Justice, and strengthened, that is, with the necessary budget for the fulfillment of its institutional mission to promote the rights of our peoples, mainly in relation to the demarcation and protection of indigenous territories.

  • Revoke the likeness 001/2017 of the Attorney General’s Office (Advocacia Geral da União – AGU).
  • Urgent performance of operations for the withdrawal of invaders from demarcated indigenous territories and their effective protection;

  • Demarcation and protection of all indigenous territories, with special attention to the territories of isolated and recently contacted peoples;
  • Budgetary allocation, with public resources, for the implementation of PNGATI [National Policy for Territorial and Environmental Management of Indigenous Territories] and other social programs aimed at guaranteeing food sovereignty, economic sustainability and the good living of our peoples and communities;
  • Guarantee of the continuity of the basic health care of our peoples through the Special Secretariat for Indigenous Health (SESAI), considering the effective and autonomous social control by our peoples;
  • Make effective the policy of differentiated and quality indigenous school education, ensuring the implementation of the 25 proposals of the second national conference and the ethno-educational territories;
  • Advocate together with the judicial and legislative powers in the guarantee of our rights guaranteed by the Federal Constitution;
  • End of violence, criminalization and discrimination against our peoples and leaders, ensuring the punishment of those responsible for these practices, the repair of damages caused, including by agents of the State and commitment of government bodies (Ministry of Human Rights , Ministry of Justice, Public Defender) in the protection of our lives;
  • Applicability of international treaties signed by Brazil, especially Convention 169 of the International Labor Organization (ILO) incorporated into the judicial apparatus of the country and establishing the right of indigenous peoples to free, prior and informed consultation on any measure administrative or legislative issues that affect them.

‘we are ALL Guarani-Kaiowá… Struggle and Resistance’

  • Compliance with the recommendations of the UN Special Rapporteurship for Indigenous Peoples and the recommendations of the UN sent to Brazil during the Universal Periodic Review (SPS), all aimed at preventing setbacks and guaranteeing the defense and promotion of rights of the indigenous peoples of Brazil.

This being what we had to communicate, we await an answer.


Articulation of the Indigenous Peoples of Brazil – APIB

[1] Report of the National Constituent Assembly VII – Commission of the Social Order – VII Subcommission of black and indigenous populations, handicapped persons and minorities – Relatório – volume 196. (we highlight)

[2] Supreme Federal Court. Full. Petition No. 3.388 / ED / RR. Vote-View proffered by Minister Menezes Direito. DJ 25.09.2009.

[3] NOBRE, Antônio Donato. “O Futuro Climático da Amazônia.” Ob. cit., p. 31

Edition: Pedro Ribeiro Nogueira

”Bolsonaro is a former Army officer who has praised Brazil’s former military dictatorship, spoken in favor of torture and threatened to destroy, imprison or banish his political opponents. He has also encouraged the police to kill suspected drug dealers, and once told a female lawmaker she was too ugly to rape. Noam Chomsky calls Bolsonaro a “disaster for Brazil“.

Author: thefreeonline

The Free is a book and a blog. Download free E/book ...”the most detailed fictional treatment of the movement from a world recognizably like our own to an anarchist society that I have read...

10 thoughts on “Indigenous peoples to Bolsonaro: “We Refuse to be Treated as Inferior beings””

  1. Iedereen op aarde is gelijk. Als jezelf immigrant bent moet je de oorspronkelijke bevolking zeker respecteren en teruggeven wat je hun hebt afgenomen, onderander, geluk. U bent de duivel in persoon Mr.bolsonaro, a cruel sefich devil. You better go to hell now.


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