We share a beautiful letter from indigenous people in the Amazon in celebration of Mother Earth Day. This letter was read live by a representative of the youth network during a panel organized by the Coordination of Indigenous Organizations of the Brazilian Amazon (COIAB), broadcast live thanks to Mídia Ninja. You can access the original letter in Portuguese on COIAB´s website. Dear Pacha Mama, generous Mother Earth, We are gathered here in this act to reaffirm once again our commitment and willingness to defend you until our last breath. On this Earth Day, which is celebrated every April 22, we remember how generous you are, how much abundance you provide, and how many gifts you offer your sons and daughters. We speak on behalf of those who understand you as an integrated ecosystem, in which the physical, biological, spiritual and energetic dimensions of our existence dance harmoniously, allowing an infinity of beings to enjoy your work. We speak on behalf of those who have a more intimate connection with you – the indigenous, the riverside people, the quilombolas, the occupiers, those born and raised in traditional populations – and who are accustomed to the cycles of sowing and harvesting, which requires the commitment, hard work, respect for nature and wisdom from all of us. Today we face a great challenge: a pandemic of global proportions, caused by the careless and pretentious way in which we engage with creation. This pandemic is taking away our loved ones, but more than that: it is changing our economy, our politics, and how the society that we chose to be centuries ago functions. We already understand that capitalism does not bring the answers we want or the solutions we need, and that is why it needs to be replaced by another way of looking at existence. We dig for gold and minerals, destroying everything around us as if there is no tomorrow, and there always is; We burn roots, branches and trunks, leaving ashes and charred remains where there used to be color and life; We allow our natural sanctuaries to be invaded and destroyed, causing deep wounds in your skin; We pollute the waters, disrespecting rivers, lakes, seas and oceans, as well as all the beings that depend on them; We exterminate pollinators and release gases that condemn all life. The signs of our bad attitude are obvious: the climate has changed; many lack water; breathing has become difficult in several places; fruits are scarce; and many of our peoples are forced to move in search of food and better living conditions; But we ask you, Generous Mother who heals, do not give up on us. Forgive those who have not yet understood the strength of the sacred feminine, the energy of women, and the contributions they bring to our struggles and lives; Forgive those who still defend the supremacy of man over all other forms of life, without understanding that each animal, each plant, each river or waterfall, each valley or mountain, each forest or each savannah, has its reason for being; Forgive your children who have not yet understood that we are all one and that everything is related; Forgive your children who have not yet understood that life goes in cycles, there is no good fortune that does not charge a price, and there is no time of abundance without a period of scarcity. Therefore, balance is essential. At this moment, with this letter: We promise you with the strength of our maraca, genipap and achiote, to fight integrally for life; making our bodies trees on our lands, the last frontiers in the struggle for life. Beloved mother, accept your children requests who know that without you nothing sprouts and nothing grows. Help us to conceive a collective decolonial thought, closer to your demands, more horizontal in its visions, that adequately values all your manifestations. Only you know the future that we are making to deserve. But we trust your love and generosity to guide us toward a restorative transformation that will alleviate suffering and heal wounds. We ask for your compassion and a little more patience. We are here, we are for you and we are all one! SOURCE: Originally published in Portuguese by COIAB.
FROM THE EDITORS: “Marco temporal” is a policy being weighted by the Brazilian Supreme Court, supported by large landowners, to redefine the territoriality of indigenous peoples based on a specific constitutional date (October 5, 1988). Such precedent would ignore the millennial presence of indigenous peoples on land before the existence of the Republic of Brazil, as well as their systematic expulsion from the territories. “Marco temporal” would outlaw the territorial sovereignty of indigenous peoples, which is why they are in permanent struggle around this issue. The Court recently suspended its decision and has yet to set a new date for the sentence. Below we share a call for action from the Coordination of Indigenous Organizations of the Brazilian Amazon (COIAB). SOURCE: https://coiab.org.br/conteudo/stf-retira-de-pauta-julgamento-que-pode-definir-o-futuro-dos-direitos-dos-1603482280557×785779598143258600. Translated from Portuguese by Awasqa. The President of the Federal Supreme Court (SCF) withdrew the Extraordinary Appeal judgment 1,017,365, on the demarcation of the Ibirama-Laklanõ Indigenous Land, of the people Xokleng, in Santa Catarina and the Opinion 001/2017, an instrument used to institutionalize “marco tempora” as a standard for administrative procedures for the demarcation of indigenous lands in Brazil. Initially scheduled for October 28, the court’s decision that could define the future of indigenous lands has yet to be determined. “Marco temporal” is a thesis that seeks to restrict the constitutional rights of indigenous peoples. Under its interpretation, defended by ruralistas [Parliamentary Front that acts in defense of the interests of rural landowners] and sectors interested in the exploitation of traditional lands, indigenous peoples would only have the right to delimit lands that were in their power on the 5th October 1988, or that, on that date, were in a proven physical or judicial dispute. Nara Baré, director of the Coordination of Indigenous Organizations of the Brazilian Amazon (COIAB), explains that: “Marco temporal is illegitimate. It damages the Federal Constitution itself and our rights as peoples of that land. If some peoples were not or could not be in their territories after that date in 1988, it was not because they did not want to, but because they were removed, expelled, and evicted by the Government to give rise to some type of company. The state itself removed them from their traditional territories. So it is the State itself that must return them.” Nara also sends a message to the SCF: “We are vigilant, vigilant, and we are not going to demobilize. We are here, and we will continue to fight throughout the Amazon, and throughout Brazil, against this concept. Our history did not begin in 1988!” COIAB, together with its grassroots organizations and its network of indigenous movement partners, will continue to fight to guarantee the constitutional rights of indigenous peoples.