Tonico Benites ~ Reasons for the occupation of the lands by indigenous people of MS

Reasons for the occupation of the lands by indigenous people of MS

Tonico Benites

Tonico Benites  Anthropologist

The purpose of this article is to analyze the reasons for the occupation or resumption of part of the traditional territory run by indigenous peoples in Mato Grosso do Sul. Indigenous communities hinged on the network, that is, indigenous social movements by the marking and the Recovery portion of the traditional indigenous territories have unleashed themselves publicly from mid-1970 on the current state of Mato Grosso do Sul.
For the purpose of making explicit the trajectory of arduous struggle of indigenous peoples for the recovery of their traditional territory, intends to initially describe the historical processes of colonization of indigenous territories by indigenous policy of the State and in the sequel wanted to report the movement of indigenous peoples to recover their traditional territories and claim its recognition on the part of the Government and the Federal Court.
At first, it is important to note that both the memories of elderly indigenous leaders as the official documentation of the Brazilian Government, mainly through the archives of the Indian protection service (SPI), FUNAI and documents of the registry offices show that the fight and indigenous demand for demarcation of indigenous lands, in the current state of Mato Grosso do Sul are old.
Traditional territories indigenous design
First of all, it is essential to understand the definition of indigenous territories, in indigenous vision, means a domain specific territorial space, is defined as the exclusive place where the indigenous community is your way of being and living. Thus, traditional indigenous land is a territorial space to use. Indian territory includes several shared spaces of hunting, fishing, collecting, housing, agricultural practice of religious ritual and festive, and as the scene of inter-community and inter-ethnic relations. This territorial space is often bounded by natural resources and water objective. In this way, the Indian territory is not the small island of isolated land and demarcated by indigenous Brazilian State organs, such as Indigenous Stations or villages/Indian reservations created by SPI between 1910 and 1930.
It is essential to remember that by the end of the second half of the 20th century, various indigenous peoples of the current state of Mato Grosso do Sul, still inhabited in certain exclusive territories where there was natural resources, such as rivers and streams to fish and sources of water for consumption. In the vicinity of indigenous dwellings, in addition to their traditional crops in the forest and in the field, it was possible to find fighters, fruit trees, medicinal plants, honey, etc. Thus, by mid-1930, many indigenous communities still living so as in their ancient territories, where there were experiencing misery, violence, etc. Each indigenous people belonged exclusively to a specific area on the banks of rivers and streams.
The process of withdrawal or expulsion of their traditional territories of indigenous
The documentary sources demonstrate that the first process of withdrawal or expulsion of the indigenous peoples of their territories began with the policy of settlement and colonization of the border between Brazil and Paraguay. So the first occupation or “invasion” of indigenous territories occurred, especially after the war of the Triple Alliance (1864-1870). Historical documents show that the official policy of settlement of the border track advance, first, in the indigenous territories of the current state of Mato Grosso do Sul.
In the period following the war, in the 1880, the Brazilian Government began to open the region to private capital and granted a large land grant to the Cia. Matte-Larangeira, allowing her the exclusive exploitation of yerba mate in the native region in which were located the indigenous territories. Up to half of the second decade of the 20th century, it can be said that the Indians have not been significant changes in occupation of their traditional territories, since the indigenous members were engaged periodically in the extraction of yerba mate and, later, in the overthrow of the Woods. In this way, they might remain in their traditional territories.
It was only from the decades of 1940 and 1950 which began a new period of more violent withdrawal of the indigenous communities of their land. This new period is marked by the end of the monopoly of the Cia. Matte-Larangeiras and by the increase in the allotment of region when opening the region for the installation of numerous private farms.
It is important to note, however, that since 1915 the first Indian reservations in the current state of Mato Grosso do Sul, were imposed by the Indians to move to the inside of them. However, it was only from the 1970 which saw the higher land expropriation process of traditional indigenous occupation, in favor of their private titration. Indigenous lands were considered as “land and apartments” and “empty land” “no man’s land”, so the traditional indigenous territory became legal Government trade object, or rather, indigenous lands were griladas by the Military Government. In this historical context the natives were steadily driven from their traditional territories. Buyers of these lands began to explore the indigenous labor and then expelled from their homes, devastate the forest and build farms on those same spaces.
Between the decades of 1950 and 1970, in this historic operation to expel the natives of their territories, engaged the new buyers of indigenous lands with local political agents, missionaries and military, etc. These social agents officially began to operate with violence in the current state of Mato Grosso do Sul and were also attended by officials from the indigenous bodies of the State, as the former SPI and, later, the current FUNAI.
In this way, many indigenous communities were expelled from their old territories, having been transferred and confined in Indian reservations created between 1915 and 1930 by SPI. For the Government, these reserves were considered as the only official spaces donated and intended for indigenous peoples that endures to this day.
It is important to point out that, on account of the historical process of colonization of indigenous territories, about 20 thousand natives of that today claim their traditional territories are residing or on the banks of the highways (BRs) or in small areas and resume reocupadas. In addition to these, approximately fifty thousand other indigenous, i.e. most indigenous of Mato Grosso do Sul are seated in small Indian reservations that have been officially reserved by SPI between 1915 and 1930.
It is important to consider that the State of Mato Grosso do Sul has, today, the largest indigenous population of Brazil. Are approximately ninety thousand individuals, belonging to eight ethnic groups, which are divided into small reserved areas, most of them in conflict, totaling only sixty thousand acres of land in indigenous ownership. All territories in conflicts/disputes are at different stages of agrarian regularization (identified, demarcated, approved, in camps awaiting recognition from the Government and the Federal Court.)
Motion initiative and arduous struggle of indigenous to recover their former territories.
In this regard it is recalled that before the expulsions and dispersions of their indigenous traditional territories originated from the late 1970, the indigenous movement, articulation and indigenous struggle to recover their former territories. The narrations of various older leaders suggest that the achievements of several major inter-ethnic meetings were and are fundamental to indigenous peoples expelled if articulate and get involved in the processes of occupation/resume part of its traditional territory claimed.
Reports of indigenous elders confirm that from the late 1970 ‘s to the present day, the hinged, reivindicantes leaders of traditional lands began to meet on a quarterly basis in the General meetings, seeking to discuss and deliberate on the demarcation and the reocupações/resume of the land. At the same time, within each general meeting, political leaders and promoters have also begun to prepare written documents and petitions to the Government and to the federal court. These documents formulated in writing the claims, indicating the delimitation and demarcation of indigenous lands as a matter of urgency. So, one of the latest tactics to lobby the federal Government on the demarcation of the ancient lands was and is to request audiences with federal authorities in Brasilia, the capital. On these occasions are delivered several written documents to federal authorities (President of FUNAI and Minister of Justice and President of the Republic of Brazil). To this end, committees from indigenous leaders moving from Mato Grosso do Sul to Brasília-DF.
Tonico Benites 
Anthropologist

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