Indigenous women and peasants unite for the largest women’s action in Brazil

SOURCE: MidiaNinja, translated from Portuguese by Awasqa.

The Margaridas meeting was attended by 100,000 people in Brasilia. The first march of indigenous women joins the peasants to fight against social setbacks.

To resist the current political scenario, indigenous women decided to unify movements. The first March of Indigenous Women will occur simultaneously with the March of the Margaridas. The goal is to bring as many people, especially women, to Brasilia to claim rights and fight backward movements. It is estimated that the capital of the country will see the arrival of approximately 100,000 people on August 13 and 14. The first day of action will be focused on indigenous peoples and their supporters. The next day will be the popular March of the Margaridas.

Mulher indígena participa Marcha das Margaridas Foto MidiaNINJA
Foto MidiaNINJA

Killed by a landowner on August 12, 1983, Margarida’s story encouraged the organization of the movement that would become the largest women’s action in Latin America.

The phrase “It is better to die in the fight than to die of hunger”, of Margarida, took shape and today brings together women from the land, waters and forests of Brasilia.

During the Free Land Camp (FLC), held in April, the unity of the struggles was decided. The National Forum of Indigenous Women will begin on August 9. The idea is to discuss the problems raised in this year’s FLC. The schedule is not yet available.

“The Forum will accommodate the problems that we must prioritize in everything we do. Hear from women what they are bringing ‘from within’ their states and municipalities. And what they have to move forward, what they need to challenge. We will be collecting […] even for the government itself, to put it as public policy. Because the government does not have the job of bringing women and we are going to the government to present our demands. ” Explains Rosimere Teles, an Arapaque people from the indigenous land of the Alto Río Negro in Amazonas, a member of the coordination of the Union of Indigenous Women of the Brazilian Amazon (UMAB).

Mulheres Indígenas durante o Acampamento Terra Livre. Foto: Matheus Alves
Indigenous women during the Free Land Camp. Foto: Matheus Alves

In accordance with the guidelines set forth in the CTL plenary session, the motto of the first “Territory: our body, our spirit” in March will raise issues that are essential in the struggle for the protection and maintenance of the territory through the sustainable look of indigenous women. In addition, there’s also a proposal to work on issues related to public health and education, issues that have required greater caution due to the dismantling designed and executed by the Bolsonaro government. The Special Secretariat of Indigenous Health, a fundamental body in the qualified treatment of indigenous peoples, for example, has been experiencing difficulties in its execution.

The chosen motto seeks to represent what is essential in the life of indigenous women. “Why does our body have to do with the territory? Because the earth is part of our lives. We all depend on nature. Everything exists in it. ” Rosimere says.

In addition, she adds that the territory is a place where homes are built and food is produced, and that the spirits of indigenous peoples have sacred places. Rosimere also warns that caring for Mother Earth is the same as caring for the body.

Ro’Otsitsina Xavante, an indigenous leader, in an interview with El País, said that gender issues timidly come to the march, but that the issues have been gaining ground in the public debate over time. Due to cultural and temporal [cosmovision] differences, the status of indigenous women is treated with greater caution to make sure the peculiarities of each nation is respected and that it does not feed into the current process of colonization.

“We women are not part of the people, we are the people. Then, violating a woman, violating a girl, is violating the people,” emphasizes Ro’Otsitsina Xavante.

The workshops play the role of bringing discussions about violence and sexual abuse against native women for the most interested parties. They are in the process of understanding what certain aggressions are and how they operate. Violence against indigenous peoples is growing strongly in the country and the biggest victims are women and children.

In Brazil, there are many indigenous women’s organizations, such as the Association of Indigenous Warriors of Rondônia; Union of Indigenous Women of the Brazilian Amazon; Xingu Women’s Movement; among others. But for the first time, the country will have a nationally organized action for indigenous women to bring an environmental, labor and human rights agenda to the capital of the country.

March of the Margaridas

Mulheres camponesas durante a Marcha das Margaridas. Foto: Mídia NINJA
Campesino women during the Margaridas March. Foto: Mídia NINJA

With the slogan “Margaridas in the fight for a Brazil with popular sovereignty, democracy, justice, equality and freedom against violence”, days 13 and 14 are destined for another edition of the March of the Margaridas that has been happening once every four years since 2000. The movement seeks to combat the different forms of violence committed against rural women and is becoming increasingly more democratic by providing space for the voices of forests and waters.

The second week of August comes so that the women of Brazil, together with the peasants, responsible for producing the food that Brazilians have on their tables, resist against the current process of colonization in search of greater visibility and respect in society.

For more information, visit Mulher Xingu’s Facebook page.