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(TruthSeekerDaily) This week saw almost 1,500 Indigenous Native Brazilians from all over Brazil come together to occupy a major road in the federal capital Brasília, the Esplanade of Ministries. Their direct action brought traffic to a halt in both directions.

The National Indigenous Mobilization convened by the Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (APIB). The goal was to protest in order to stop legislation that threatens wipe out Indigenous rights in Brazil. Protesters gathered, carried signs, and even put together effigies of politicians that traditional indigenous bow masters shot arrows at!

APIB informs us that the “[four] large photos were the target of Indigenous arrows, one of President Dilma Rousseff, one of her chief of staff, Gleisi Hoffmann, and the other two, the president of the National Confederation of Agriculture (CNA) and Senator Katia Abreu. Following a ritual dance around the photos, they stepped on them.”

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The legislation, the “Indigenous April 2013: Declaration Of Indigenous National Mobilization In Defense Of Indigenous Territories,” consists of several bills including the following:

The proposed amendments to the Constitution (PECs) include numbers 038/99, 215/00 and 237/13, Bill 1610/96, the bill for Complementary Law (PLP) 227/12, and the Portarias (ministerial orders) 419/11 and 7957/13. A summary of the bills was circulated via the support communities on social media for Chief Raoni:

  • PEC 38 would give the Senate power to approve processes of demarcation of Indigenous lands, determining that “the demarcation of Indigenous lands or units of environmental conservation respect the maximum limit of 30% of the surface area of each state”;
  • PEC 215 gives Congress exclusive authority to decide the boundaries of all Indigenous lands;
  • PEC 237 permits the possession of Indigenous lands by rural producers;
  • PLP 227 limits federal lands that can be used for demarcation;
  • Portaria 419 intends to streamline the licensing of public projects by means of the reduction of Indigenous rights, of the rights of traditional communities and of the environment;
  • Portaria 7957 creates the Environmental Operations Company of the National Force of Public Security to permit the use of military force against Indigenous Peoples who oppose the large-scale projects of the PAC (Program for Acceleration of Growth), especially hydroelectric dams;
  • PL 1610, allows mining in Indigenous lands.

The protestors, composed of more than one hundred ethnicities, attempted to enter the National Congress but were met with pepper spray by the police.

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During the police brutality, an APIB reported that one Tupiniquim participant was severely cut on the arm and was taken to the University of Brasília Hospital (HUB) for treatment.

Government officials eventually conceded to a meeting with a small committee of representatives. Many, however, declined the offer, “[insisting] that representatives of the government should come out of Congress and talk to all the Indigenous Peoples present.”

There were, however, 31 Indigenous leaders who accepted the invitation and met with the acting President of the House, Andrew Vargas (PT-PR) to discuss PEC 215 and PLP 227.

“The Indigenous then decided to stop activity at the Axis Monument, above the Ministry of Justice. The car of government spokesman, congressman Candido Vaccarezza (of the Labor Party-PT of São Paulo), was stopped in the middle of the demonstration and Indigenous participants wrapped his car with toilet paper, and hung bills and coins on the windshield.”

APIB explained that “Vaccarezza is the chairman of the Joint Committee (House and Senate) of the proposed Supplementary Law Bill (PLP) 227, which deals with regulations to Article 6 of the Constitution, in relation to exceptions to the exclusive use of the Indigenous Peoples to their lands.”