Brazil: “Our fight continues to be for life, not only against the virus”

APIB calls for the unity of the peoples: “After the worst March of our lives, we will bring April’s greatest mobilization of our struggles!

Acampamento Terra Livre
Source: APIB

The struggle of the indigenous peoples of Brazil to defend their land, territory, the environment, and the Amazon region of Mother Earth under their custody, has been extraordinary in exceptional conditions. They have had to confront Bolsonaro’s government brutality, which has not only ignored legal regulations that protect the rainforest and its inhabitants, but has also promoted the invasion, aggression, and proliferation of extractive projects (mining and gambusinos, loggers, and biodiversity traffickers) . 

This has been aggravated by the incidence of the pandemic―the National Committee for Life and Memory of the Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (APIB) reports that more than half of the 305 indigenous nations that inhabit Brazil have been affected by the pandemic. With more than 50 thousand infected and at least 1037 indigenous dead so far. 

In this context, the 17th Acampamento Terra Livre (Free Land Camp or ATL for its acronym in Portuguese) was launched from April 5 to 30, 2021. With more than 60 virtual events, this is one the largest virtual political mobilizations of Amazonian peoples in the span of 25 days. Guests have included members of various local and federal organizations, as well as women leaders, students, teachers, young communicators, artists, and other indigenous groups.

In 2004, a call was made to end “guardianship” policies, recognize the ethnic plurality of indigenous peoples in Brazil, and reclaim a greater role in the decision-making to promote rights and sovereignty agendas.

For the first Acampamento Terra Livre in 2004, caravans of indigenous leaders gathered in Brasilia, frustrated by severe violations of human and land rights under different left and right-wing regimes. At that time, a call was made to end “guardianship” policies, recognize the ethnic plurality of indigenous peoples in Brazil, and reclaim a greater role in the decision-making to promote rights and sovereignty agendas. From this historic meeting, the APIB was created in 2005 to cohere the national indigenous movement of Brazil represented in more than the 300 organizations that are APIB’s members today, including the following regional entities:

  • Articulação dos Povos Indígenas do Nordeste, Minas Gerais e Espírito Santo (APOINME)
  • Conselho do Povo Terena
  • Articulação dos Povos Indígenas do Sudeste (ARPINSUDESTE)
  • Articulação dos Povos Indígenas do Sul (ARPINSUL)
  • Grande Assembléia do povo Guarani (ATY GUASU)
  • Coordenação das Organizações Indígenas da Amazônia Brasileira (COIAB)
  • Comissão Guarani Yvyrupa

The APIB together with the Coordination of Indigenous Organizations of the Brazilian Amazon (COIAB), an indigenous organization representing more than 64 base regions in the Amazon―celebrating its 32 years of existence as well―organized the 17th Acampamento Terra Livre taking place for virtually the 2nd consecutive year.

Among the various virtual events of the ATL programming, we highlight “Strategies of the Network of Young Indigenous Communicators in the defense of the territories,” where panelists discussed the importance of communication as a instrument to combat racism, defend rights, and uplift the protagonism of diverse indigenous voices. 

Daiara Tukano from Radio Yandê, for example, shared her observations on the importance of artistic production:

“Radio Yandê has been a platform … that has been very important in promoting indigenous music production, launching indigenous musicians, speaking to writers, filmmakers, the type of indigenous production that is also present in several disputed territories … Sometimes it is very difficult for our organizations to open a little more space for this type of indigenous creation. Since the first step is always to denounce and speak about rights, we leave aside the creators, musicians, writers, and family members that produce essential work that enriches our existence, our self-esteem. We need to show everything that we are capable of doing. I think it is necessary to bring these two fronts together.”

Maracá’s film production, for example, released in August of last year, is testimony to the power of bringing togehter artistic endeavors and political demands:

To follow up on the multiple activities of the Acampamento Terra Livre and its historical memory, you may access the official website of the APIB or video collection, social networks at COAIB and Mídia Ninja. Witnessing the indigenous approach to today’s world problems gives us hope for the future, in our collective viability of defending the land, water and territory, as the basis for the survival of humanity, of Pacha Mama, of all.