BBC Reports~Indians use social media to strengthen own voice

Indians use social media to strengthen own voice

João Fellet

The BBC Brazil, in Brasília 

Updated June 4, 2013-06:15 (Brasília) 09:15 GMT

People want to distance themselves from misconceptions propagated by journalistic vehicles

When, last Thursday, the Terena Indian Oziel Gabriel died shot in confrontation in a repossession action in Sidrolândia, in Mato Grosso do Sul, the few minutes it took for a battle to organize on another front.

Indians who witnessed the death soon published videos and photos of Oziel on Facebook, accusing the Federal Police (PF).

The content of the page strength of the Terena People spread quickly through an extensive virtual network composed of Indians from other ethnic groups and supporters. Hours later, when the subject was already disclosed even abroad, Justice Minister Jose Eduardo Cardozo, came out to say that the Inspector General’s Office of PF investigate the case.

The impact the death of Oziel, which occurred amid an escalation of conflicts involving indigenous Brazilians, as many of these people have increasingly using social networks to articulate and disseminate their banners.

Posture, say the groups, also aims to challenge biased or unbiased views on journalistic vehicles borne Indians.

Who represents the Indians?

The terena lawyer Luiz Henrique Eloy, 24 years, says that newspapers and TVs that cover agrarian conflicts in Mato Grosso do Sul tend to position against the Indians.

“When we hear, put only the part that (they) are interested,” he says to the BBC Brazil.

Eloy says although many journalists, rather than disclose the opinions of Indians on issues that concern them, tend to treat the Funai (National Indian Foundation, a body subordinate to the Ministry of Justice), NGOs and the Cimi (Indigenous Missionary Council, linked to the Catholic Church) as legitimate representatives of indigenous peoples.

In some cases, he says, the vehicles go beyond and endorse position often issued by farmers, politicians “ruralists” and some sectors of the Government: that these organizations handle the Indians, inciting them to invade land and intensify the conflicts.

“It’s the opposite: often the Funai and the Ccme are expelled from our meetings because they try to prevent, discourage resumed of land”, says BBC Brazil guarani-kaiowá anthropologist Tonico Benites, of 41 years.

“The initiative is always of people, of leaders. After all, who goes to war, who will receive bullet are they “.

Networks and teaching

Benites, doctoral candidate in Anthropology from Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), and Eloy, newly formed in law for a private College of Campo Grande, are part of a growing group of Indians of mato Grosso do sul- Projeto sorria that have come to higher education and thus expanded the resonance of the demands of their people.

According to Eloy, today there are about 800 Indians in undergraduate, master’s and doctoral degrees at universities of Mato Grosso do Sul. “We have terena which are doctors in history and Agronomy in our resume”, exemplifies.

To enter at the University, he says, most of these Indians is frequent access to the internet and extend the militancy to social networks. Back to the villages or areas in conflict, use mobile phones to post on the internet information in real time. Was what happened when Gabriel Oziel was targeted on the farm Buriti, while the police meet a repossession action.

The area, claimed by former State Ricardo Bacha (PSDB), was declared indigenous terena in 2010. In 2012, however, the Federal Regional Court (TRF) accepted to guarantee your Bacha resource field in the area, enabling the police action. On Monday, a court ruling that gave 48 hours for the Indians to leave the area was suspended.

Tonico Benites, who runs on Facebook page Aty Guasu-traditional house name guarani of Mato Grosso do Sul – says that virtual activism made many Brazilians who were unaware of the agrarian conflicts in the State in favor of the indigenous.

The cause gained great projection at the end of 2012, when guarani-kaiowá Indians of the Tekoha (guarani term for the land of traditional occupation) Pyelito Kue released a manifesto in which they said willing to die if they had to leave the place. Thousands of Facebook users then sympathized the guarani kaiowá indigenous, adding to their names.

The manifest revealed the precarious conditions faced by Indians in Central and Southern States of the country. According to Funai, although half of Brazilian Indians inhabit these regions, only 2% of the national indigenous lands are in these areas – the 98% are in Legal Amazon.

As the indigenous land Buriti, thousands of hectares of land in the Center-South of Brazil are, for decades, in the process of demarcation. Part of the territories are waiting for approval (last stage of bureaucratic rite); others, paralyzed by lawsuits filed by farmers.


Rural Caucus want suspension of demarcations of indigenous territories

With strong influence on the rural caucus in Congress, the National Agriculture Confederation (CNA) press for the suspension of all the demarcations in the country. The suspension, says the Organization, should last until the Supreme Court (STF) judge for embargoes (requests for information) about the decision of the Court concerning the demarcation of the Raposa Serra do Sol indigenous area in Roraima.

In 2009, decision, the Supreme Court has set a series of conditions on demarcation, as the ban already approved reservations are magnified. The “ruralists” want the conditions extend to all other demarcations, but there is no consensus among the members of the Supreme Court regarding the theme. The matter does not have to be parsed.

President of CNA, Senator Katia Abreu (PSD-TO) has said that indigenous lands, home to about 600 thousand Indians (less than 1% of the Brazilian population), add up to 12.6% of the national territory. “Earth, therefore, does not lack them,” she said, in a recent article.

In recent weeks, the Group won a victory when the Minister of the Civil Cabinet, Gleisi Hoffmann, announced that the Government would change the demarcation procedures, reducing the powers of Funai. According to Gleisi, the Foundation, which today leads the demarcatório, leading the process based on anthropological studies, will share the award with the ministries of agriculture and of agricultural development.

In a sign of the lack of prestige of Funai in Government Dilma, the President of the Agency, Marta Azevedo, was not invited to a meeting that Dilma convened last week to discuss problems involving indigenous peoples. The meeting was attended by the President of the State Agricultural Research Corporation Embrapa.

In other States, indigenous peoples also have intensified protests. Two weeks ago, Gavião Indians blocked two roads in the southeast of Pará in demonstration against the health services in the region. In this second, kaingang people Indians occupied an Office of the PT in Curitiba and closed roads in Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina.

The actions respond to a request from the Minister of the Civil Cabinet, Gleisi Hoffmann, for which the Ministry of Justice halt the demarcations of land in his home State, the Paraná, whose Government she is expected to compete in 2014.

Belo Monte

Since last week, Munduruku Indians occupy the construction site of Belo Monte and require dialogue with the Planalto Palace. Inhabitants of villages on the banks of the Tapajós, about 800 km from the mill, they say they were not consulted by the federal Government over plans to build dams on the river.

The movement also has a strong presence on Facebook, through the Munduruku Campaign page.

After tense negotiations, the Indians had their election attended and will travel to Brasilia for a meeting on Wednesday. Will not this time, however, that Rousseff should receive them. The meeting was scheduled by the General Secretariat of the Presidency, which will have as its main representative Chief Minister, Gilberto Carvalho.

Since he took office in 2011, the President does not met any time with indigenous.


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