In support of the Maraka'nà Village and the Indigenous University

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Katu haw rupi Teko paw rupi ko ywi rehe har a’e teko wà
We salute all the people of the Earth!

 

We, the indigenous people of Brazil, as well as those supporting the Maraka'nà Village, in accordance with the United Nation's Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, Convention 169 of the International Labor Organization (ILO) and articles 231 and 232 of the Brazilian Constitution, express our support for the Maraka'nà Village and plan for the Indigenous University of the Maraka'nà Village project.

This Indigenous village, located within the urban perimeter of the city of Rio de Janeiro, and adjacent to the Maracanã soccer stadium, not only occupies original Indigenous land but also has a long history that legitimizes its current occupation. The house, built in 1885 in an Indigenous settlement land housed the first Indian Protection Service (Serviço de Proteção do Índio/SPI) of Brazil. Later, in 1953, it became the first Museum of the Indian, an institution created by anthropologist Darcy Ribeiro. From 1950 to 1970, the building also housed the Graduate Program in Anthropology of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ). In 1978, when the Museum of the Indian moved to another neighborhood, the building was abandoned and has been in a state of decay for almost three decades.

Since its inception in 2006, the Maraka'nà Village has been a communal space managed by Indians of several ethnicities. There, in a direct relation to the surrounding territory, the project for an Indigenous University is under way, affirming the central role of Indians in constructing a fairer and more sustainable society and currently seeking institutional legitimacy for its activities.

The Indigenous University of the Maraka'nà Village is a popular, multi-ethnical, intercultural and non-colonial educational space, developed to foster the sharing of knowledge based on the daily life of an Indian village. In the Indigenous University, indigenous people put in practice the unique teachings of their social, environmental, medicinal, scientific, philosophical and cultural experiences. According to sacred Indian practices, the participants currently organize circles of maracá, offer classes on the Tupi-Guarani language, workshops of sowing, weaving and graphic arts, showcase festivals of indigenous cinema and regularly receive students from public schools. By building a space where indigenous people of different states can preserve and pass on aspects of their way of life within the urban perimeter, the University offers society in general a genuine contribution while directly encountering the exploitation of our ecosystem — one of the greatest problems of our times.

Reflecting the oppression of our colonial past, both the invisibility and genocide of the indigenous population remain present and express themselves today in the continuous attacks suffered by the Maraka'nà Village. In 2013, groups of several ethnicities were violently evicted from the Village in an operation carried out by the State of Rio de Janeiro, which conceded the area to the Odebrecht corporation for the construction of a parking lot and shopping mall next to Maracanã soccer stadium, in preparation for the 2014 FIFA World Soccer Championship. The terrain was covered by asphalt but the structures that would ultimately comprise the Maracanã complex were never built. In 2016, Indigenous people re-entered and reoccupied their land. The privatization process was carried out by conflicted parties following questionable economic interests, and the criminalization of the Indigenous people at the Maraka'nà Village was put in motion by a corrupt government that is currently behind bars (both former mayor Sérgio Cabral Filho and formed governor Luiz Fernando Pezão have since been tried, convicted and jailed).

Thus, we demand that the state and federal government respect history and take a public position to defend the rights of our indigenous peoples. The governments must promptly recognize the occupation of the mansion at the Maraka'nà Village and its surrounding area, as well as the legitimacy of the ongoing project for the Indigenous University. We express our deepest concern in face of the declarations, in the press and in social media, given by the recently-appointed governor, Mr. Wilson Witzel, who disregards the existence of a current occupation of the Maraka'nà Village. Moreover, the recently-elected president of Brazil, Mr. Jair Bolsonaro, in the first hours of his mandate, transferred the primary functions and authority of the National Indian Foundation (Funai) to the Ministry of Agriculture, an institution that defends the interests of industrial-scale livestock and farming sectors in the country. We also plead that Funai takes an urgent stance and makes efforts to defend the Maraka'nà Village, a truly singular project in the city of Rio de Janeiro and in the history of Brazil.

 

Katu haw paw rupi.
Thank you all!

 

For further information on the Maraka'nà Settlement visit: https://www.facebook.com/aldeia.rexiste/  and https://coirem2018.wixsite.com/coirem2018