Brazil: Manifest for Life of 45 Tribes in Piaraçu

We are the healing of the earth. Picture: Instituto Roani, Brasil
We are the healing of the Earth. Photo: Roani Institute, Brazil

FROM THE EDITORS: As many as 600 indigenous people representing 45 different tribes met in the Amazon to strengthen their ties under the Alliance of the Peoples of the Forest, and push forward a strategy of resistance against the Brazilian government’s land-grabbing policies that favor large meat factory farms, extractivist industries, and monocultures. The Alliance’s resurgence seeks to strengthen Chico Mendes’s legacy in the 1980s that brought together rubber tappers, riverside, and indigenous people against deforestation and in defense of Amazon’s biodiversity. Mendes was assassinated in 1988. Brazil has one of the highest incidence of murders of environmentalists in the world. Speaking to The Guardian Chief Raoni Metuktire said, “I have seen many presidents come and go, but none spoke so badly of indigenous people or threatened us and the forest like this.” This is the latest of several meetings called by the Alliance, which today includes members of the social movements in Brazil, youth activists, and scientists.

Manifest of Piaraçu – Indigenous Leaders and Líderes Indígenas y Caciques of Brazil in Piaraçu

We, representatives of 45 indigenous peoples of Brazil, with a total of more than 600 participants, were received by Cacique Raoni to meet between January 14 and 17, 2020, in the town of Piaraçu (Indigenous Land Capoto Jarina), with the objective of joining our forces and denouncing the political project of genocide, ethnocide, and ecocide of the Brazilian government currently underway.

The Brazilian State has to understand its historical debt to indigenous peoples. We are the first inhabitants of our country. We are not only defending the environment: we are nature itself. If you kill the environment, you are killing us.

We always want the jungle standing, not because the jungle is beautiful, but because all these beings that inhabit the jungle are part of us and run in our blood.

The threats and hatred of the current government are promoting violence against indigenous peoples, the murder of our leaders and the invasion of our lands. Today we have to prepare ourselves to face not only the government, but also to react to the violence of certain sectors of society, which express racism very clearly, simply because we are indigenous.

The indigenous women present at the Meeting, leaders, warriors, generators, and protectors of life, reaffirm their fight against violations that offend their bodies, spirit, and territories. They are the women who guarantee our ways of life and our language. They guarantee our existence in our collective home.

We indigenous men and women fight side by side for the right to land that feeds and heals us.

The indigenous youth present in this Meeting reaffirm their commitment to continue the struggle of the leaders in defense of our lives, our territories, and our right to exist. The knowledge and traditions that our grandparents taught us are the great solution to the threats to our peoples and territories, and to the coming climate crisis. This generation is ready to take the solutions they have been taught.

Only we can talk about ourselves and for ourselves. We do not admit the disrespect for our Chiefs, as Bolsonaro did in 2019 in his speech during the UN meeting against Chief Raoni. We affirm that, YES, Cacique Raoni is our leader. He represents us! He will be our reference for his leadership of firm and peaceful struggle: today and forever. That is why we support his candidacy for the Nobel Peace Prize. We demand that Congress legally recognizes indigenous authorities as the first rulers of this country. Our lands are governed by our chiefs, indigenous authorities who decide in favor of our communities, based on collective and non-individual claims.

The current president of the republic is threatening our rights, our health, our territory. The current government has a plan to allow mining extraction and livestock in our territories. We join forces, join together and show our strength in this document to continue our struggles that our grandchildren are already continuing. The current government is attacking us; it wants to take the land from our hands. We do not accept shrimp farms, mining projects, illegal fishermen, hydroelectric dams, and other projects such as Ferrograo (railway project that aims to cross the Amazon), which will impact us directly and irreversibly.

We are against everything that destroys our forests and rivers. We do not accept that Brazil is put up for sale in other countries interested in exploring our territory. We want, above all, respect for our lives, our traditions, traditional uses, and the Federal Constitution, which protects our rights.

We write these documents as a cry out, so that we, the indigenous peoples, can be heard by the three powers of the Republic, by society, and by the international community.

The consultation processes must guarantee our right to say NO to government and congressional initiatives. Consultations must respect our traditional forms of representation and political organization, as well as our autonomous consultation and consent protocols.

Encuentro dos Povos Picture: Instituto Raoni, Brasil
The Encounter of the Peoples in Piaraçu. Picture: Raoni Institute, Brazil


We make it clear that the indigenous people who now hold positions in the federal government without our patricipation or nomination in the appointment of these people, and who support the Bolsonaro government in some way, do not represent us.

We demand the fulfillment of our original rights over new territories through the demarcation and homologation of the claimed indigenous lands. We reject the thesis of the “marco temporal”* and demand that demarcation processes be resumed immediately, such as Kapot Nhinore, former claim of Casique Raoni.

We are against the municipalization of indigenous health and against the political party nomination for the posts of the Special Secretariat of Indigenous Health (SESAI). We demand the political, administrative and financial autonomy of the Special Sanitary Districts of Indigenous Health (DSEI) and the strengthening of social control through the recreation of the Forum of Presidents of the District Councils of Indigenous Health – CONDISI, extinguished by Decree 9.759 / 2019. We demand the guarantee of a qualified and adequate workforce for our service.

We demand compliance with the Term of Adjustment of Conduct – TAC signed between the Ministry of Health, the National Indian Foundation (FUNAI), SESAI, the Office of the Public Defender and the Federal Public Ministry, which guarantees the continuity of the services related to the policy of indigenous health. And we demand the holding of the 6th National Conference on Indigenous Health.

We demand compliance with indigenous policy under the responsibility of FUNAI and SESAI for all indigenous peoples and lands in Brazil, and not only for approved indigenous lands.

We reject the persecution and attempted criminalization of our leaders, indigenous, and indigenous organizations, collaborators and partners.

We demand the guarantee of the physical and moral integrity of our communities and leaders and the punishment of those who are killing our relatives.

We demand that the Brazilian State fulfill its constitutional responsibility to protect indigenous territories and the environment, curbing illegal activities and punishing criminals. We also demand that the government takes responsibility for the poisoning of the air, soil, and rivers caused by the irresponsible and uncontrolled use of pesticides around our lands.

We demand compliance with public policies for the protection of peoples in voluntary isolation and recent contact.

Indigenous youth meeting
Indigenous youth meeting. Photo:

We demand a differentiated and quality education for our young people, which allows them to complete their training, from basic education up to high school, in our territories. We do not accept the dismantling of public universities and request that a guaranteed continuity of scholarships for young people who are going to study in city universities.

The university education of young people is important to give continuity to our struggle. It is a space that ensures that we are prepared for the changes that threaten us. Therefore, the young people who hold the pen in their hands, along with launching the arrow that was given and taught to them by their grandparents, can continue fighting.

Being in universities only makes sense if we exercise our spirituality. In this sense, we ask that Brazilian society join us in the struggle for access to a plural and democratic university, for a university education that values ​​and recognizes the science of the territory.

We want policies to strengthen sustainable economic alternatives for our territories, without the use of pesticides, and that promote the economy of the Jungle in Pie, with emphasis on culture, traditional knowledge, extractivism, and clean technologies.

We are human beings, we are native peoples of Brazil. We are part of Brazil and Brazil is part of us. We do not accept what they say about our territories being very large, because that does not compare with the size and strength of our culture and with what we have contributed to maintaining, not only our lives and ways of life, but the lives of all in this planet.

Brazil was not born first, we the original peoples did, and we were massacred but continue to resist in order to exist.

We are not alone. In this great meeting, we declare the resumption of the Alliance of the People’s of the Forest, which includes the Caatinga, Pantanal, Closed, Mata Atlântica, and the Amazon. We will be together defending the protection of our territories. This struggle is not only for indigenous peoples, but for all of us, it is a struggle for life on the planet.

We conclude with certainty that 2020 will be a year of much struggle, and we call all the relatives and partners of indigenous peoples in Brazil and abroad, for a year of many mobilizations, where we must be present with strength and energy of our ancestors in Brasilia. and in the streets around the world. The fight continues today and always from generation to generation.

* “Marco temporal” restricts indigenous claims on land strictly on basis of physical presence on October 5, 1988, the date the new Constitution took effect. Indigenous people have been mobilizing about it taking effect in Congress since 2017. For more information see:

Aldea Piaraçu, January 17, 2020


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