The Ka ‘ apor ‘Guardians of the forest’ are under great threat.
21 June 2016 Featured, Environmental Racism
Tania Pacheco-Fighting Environmental Racism
The Ka ‘ apor of the indigenous land Alto Turiaçu, in Maranhão, must have seen with relief the passage this weekend. After all, the invasion by loggers, farmers, squatters and his men was not consummated, despite threats, intensified in the days before and that we denounce Saturday . According to information that they and partners received came to be meeting of gangsters (there is another name for it?) to choose the targets of the attacks would be located in cities villages: Centre William Maranhãozinho, Nova Olinda do Maranhão and Zé Doca. The Ka ‘ apor conversed, denounced, and the attack did not happen after all. And still postponed, until now at least.
But what do the Ka ‘ apor to be so threatened? It’s simple: they took as their responsibility to do something that government agencies keep employees paid to perform, which is to preserve what’s left of the Amazon rainforest in its territory. To seek to ensure the life in 530,524 ha of it they created in 2013 TI Alto Turiaçu, group called guardians of the forest. These indigenous watch as far as possible the paths, pick up timber camps, avoid the arsons, store, anyway, as the name says, what kills her.
That’s how in August 2014 they arrested a group of loggers in the interior of the indigenous land. The moment was documented by Lunaé Brill: lumberjacks tied, burnt machinery, camps destroyed. Not injured, not killed; simply seized the criminals to surrender to the authorities. Expelled.
The decision to self-manage and preserve the territory only incited more hatred, threats and violence. The Ka ‘ apor doesn’t differ from other indigenous peoples in other regions of the country or its neighbors relatives Awá and Guajajara, who also are fighting for survival in Maranhão. Have your long list of dead, which comes from 1500 and, in recent years, has, as a different, carefully noted names. Among the most recent, a highlight: Eusebius, leadership murdered on 26 April 2015. In this country, to be guardian of the forest (actually, any forest) is dangerous.
In the fierce crisis in December 2015 the ‘ roughnecks ‘ made an ambush against a group of 28 guards agroforestry, which were putting out arson in the Woods. Two Indians were wounded and captured. Under threat of death and torture, they reveal the plans, actions and the Indians involved in the protection of indigenous land. This, of course, increased even more risks to the guardians.
Days later, in January, the loggers spread rumor that the Ka ‘ apor would have killed a person who worked for them. A month later, the pseudo corpse was seen and photographed by indigenous people on a bench at the seat of the municipality of Zé Doca. It didn’t work, but the experience would be for them.
The Ka ‘ apor persisted. Accurate information about what would be managed to the loggers who were removing wood from the indigenous land, who would be helping their entry into the territory and which saw mills used to ‘ warm up ‘ the wood. Transferred everything to the Federal Public Ministry in São Luiz, which in turn triggered the Federal Police. As a result, the PF, the Federal Highway police and Ibama conducted research that led to the arrest of 11 loggers in March, and the closing of all the sawmills in the region. Since then, the situation has become even more serious.
In retaliation to operation, ‘ men ‘ kidnapped a teenager Ka ‘apor 14 years of that mark so far was not found, and are chasing leaders. Indigenous people who live in protected areas Ka ‘ apor (former branches closed for them) are being prevented from leaving and to use the road outside of the indigenous land. At the end of the week, the loggers stopped a car from the Base of indigenous health Zé Doca, on a road known as “the conquest”, and prevented a server and a native leader return to the city. The threats are constant.
Finally, last Thursday, June 16, a new murder story came to revive the unsuccessful attempt in December. According to the loggers, a body would have been found within the indigenous land. Would be someone that the Ka ‘ apor would have murdered.
The place where they claim to have found the body is at the extremes of the territory, between two small villages and limits with a farm. A few area residents, far from the villages where not even the Rangers tend to do surveillance. There live only two leaders: a guardian and a member of the Management Board Ka ‘ apor.
There’s no sign of the body; There is no name of the murdered; There wasn’t even any record of the fact to the competent authorities by whistleblowers. According to indigenous partners, there is, in fact, news that the loggers would have ordered the execution of people who revealed to the natives the information they passed on to Federal prosecutors. With or without body, everything indicates that the plan was to join this reckoning between thugs to criminalization of the Ka ‘ apor and, at the same time, find an excuse for new violence.
This is the scenario, to which we can add, in addition to the 14-year old teenager who is still missing, the record of five murdered indigenous leaders 14 assaulted (physically and with lead bullets), two villages overrun, about 8 leaders and 12 Rangers threatened or marked for death, since 2008.
Since initiated the plan of self-management, the Management Board Ka ‘ apor is responsible for the closing of 24 branches of loggers and the creation of seven protected areas, 85% of the forests of preserving and recovering the other 15% that had been devastated. The Guardões are even considered “agroforestry guards”, by resizing coming giving the preserved areas (or areas of protection, the ka’apor usak ha). You should have your work recognized and supported, including by public bodies to which fit do much of what is being by Ka ‘ apor. It seems that is not exactly what has been happening.
Are still some questions. What happened to the criminals arrested in the operation of the Federal Police and Ibama in March? What has been done in relation to the loggers from the list sent to the MPF? Is permitted to hire and free movement of armed men, preventing the transportation of people, indigenous and servers, and even making threats? And Funai, finally, what it does and what it says? That support is giving to Ka ‘ apor and that has been taking measures to ensure their safety?
More and more it seems to me that there are people and public organs in this country for which the solution of the so-called ‘ Indian question ‘ comes down to one word: extermination. Or genocide.
The threats over the weekend failed to materialize, but they still present 24 hours a day, on indigenous land Alto Turiaçu. And that can’t continue.
All support to Ka ‘ apor, to its management board and the guardians of the forest.