Aracruz: “The Indians are no Indians”

Posted: 14 September 2006 in Aracruz, Brazil

On 6 September 2006, Tupinikim and Guarani Indians started clearing eucalyptus trees planted on their land by Brazil’s pulp giant Aracruz. This is what it looked like a few days later:

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Aracruz denies that the land belongs to the Indians. The company even denies that the Indians are Indians.

“The Indians are no Indians,” announced Aracruz spokesperson Gessé Marques on Brazilian TV (Jornal Capixaba) last week. Aracruz’s website includes a photo gallery which shows Tupinikim brick houses “with a hedge and a satellite dish”. According to Aracruz, then, indigenous people can forget about land rights if any member of their group owns a television or grows a hedge around their house.

Aracruz states that the Indians (who are not Indians, if we are to believe Aracruz) have cleared 36 hectares, “causing an estimated loss of R$1 million” (about US$464,300).

The Indians demand that FUNAI and the Ministry of Justice demarcate their land, according to a statement by the Green Desert Network. The Tupinikim and Guarani are cutting the trees so that they can reforest it so that it can once again serve the communities. They promise to continue their protest until the demarcation decree is issued.

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