It was with surprise and emotion that Sônia Guajajara was nominated for the list of the 100 most influential people in the world by the American magazine Time this Monday (23). She believes that international recognition is an achievement for all people who actively participate in the indigenous struggle in Brazil.
“It’s not a recognition of Sônia’s struggle, it’s a collective recognition after everything we’ve been doing to fight attacks, setbacks, withdrawal of rights. It’s an effort that we make every day”, he said, in an interview with Brazil de facto.
For Sônia, the recognition comes at a good time and helps to give visibility to indigenous issues, both inside and outside the country. She believes that more people need to know the importance of native peoples.
“It is time for us to sensitize people and raise awareness about the role of indigenous peoples and territories for all humanity, the importance of protected territories, the demarcation of indigenous lands,” he said.
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Sônia says that the Bolsonaro government’s stance against indigenous people and the increase in violence against indigenous peoples are directly linked. For her, many attacks are carried out by people who “feel authorized” by the government’s stance. Therefore, gaining visibility is even more important.
“In recent years we have felt that people have come to understand better and care more about the indigenous agenda. The artistic class has shown more support, participated in the mobilizations, and they reach an audience that we usually cannot reach”, he highlights. .
Pre-candidate for federal deputy for the PSOL in São Paulo, Sônia said that it is necessary to strengthen the indigenous struggle also in institutional spaces. Together with other indigenous leaders, she created the “headdress bench”, with the aim of consistently opposing the ruralist bench. Today, deputy Joenia Wapichana (Rede-RR) is the only representative of indigenous peoples in the congress.
“There, at the congress, there needs to be the voice of the land, the voice of the forest, of biodiversity. And who makes this legitimate representation are us, indigenous people, who understand each other with the forest and the environment. We no longer want to be only represented, we want be our own representatives”, he highlighted.
“Lula signaled with a ministry of indigenous peoples. For us this is important, it can bring together the entire indigenous policy there, but we also want to participate in the discussion of building the country with strong indigenous representation also in other ministries, such as Health, Education and the Environment. We want to be together in the reconstruction of rights lost in recent years”, he concluded.
Editing: Rodrigo Durao Coelho