By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – With the theme “Unifying the struggles in defense of Indigenous Brazil – For the guarantee of the original rights of our peoples,” more than 2,500 indigenous representatives from over one hundred ethnic groups are expected to participate in the 15th edition of Terra Livre (Free Land) camp movement which began on Monday in Brasilia, Brazil.
“The struggle is the legacy we indigenous people leave for our children,” said Kretã Kaingang coordinator of the indigenous populations movement of the South (ArpinSul) at the opening ceremony. The Terra Livre camp week is considered the largest annual mobilization of indigenous people in Brazil.
The indigenous will be camping in Brazil’s capital to pressure government authorities to maintain and enforce indigenous’ constitutional rights and international laws and call attention to land demarcation, health care and education of the indigenous populations.
“The illegitimate government of Michel Temer took a declared anti-indigenous policy, putting an end to the demarcation and protection of indigenous lands, leading to the invasion of these lands by governmental and private entities and person,” says the statement issued by organizers.
During the week there will be plenary sessions, debates, hearings with lawmakers and representatives of the Executive, Legislative and Judiciary as well as protests in front of Congress and traditional rituals performed by some of the tribes.
Indigenous Guarani Kaiowá chief, Alberto Terena of the Terena Council thanked the young indigenous for being there and asked them to learn from their elders. “No one has (the right) to say how we should live, except ourselves. This government enters our lands to steal them. To tell you what to do with them. We do not accept that. The Guarani Kaiowá are dying in Mato Grosso do Sul, “said Terena.