Leaders of the indigenous land Raposa Serra do Sol (RR) countered statements by Gilmar Mendes, who accused – in his words – “Indians” in the region of having “a lot of land”, but living in poor living conditions, surviving from the “dump”. The speech of the Minister of the Federal Supreme Court (STF) was remembered by indigenous people this Friday (29) during the closing of the 4th Fair of Sustainable Organic Agricultural Products and Indigenous Crafts.
“It’s a lie when he (Gilmar Mendes) says that we, indigenous people, are dying of hunger, picking up trash in the landfill. We are working in a sustainable way, recovering our Mother Earth, which was polluted and destroyed by farmers”, said Professor Ernestina Makuxi, indigenous leader of the Willimon region, while showing the products on display.
Gilmar Mendes’ statement, identified as “criminal” and “racist” by the Indigenous Council of Roraima (CIR), was made on August 31, during the trial of the time frame in the STF, which ended with the invalidation of the legal thesis. At the center of the criticism made by the minister is a fallacious argument frequently reproduced by ruralists: that the policy of demarcating indigenous lands, a Constitutional duty of the State, harms the people themselves.
:: Gilmar Mendes angers leaders by saying that indigenous people survive from the ‘landfill’ ::
“When he says that we are hungry and in the dump, it is retaliation against the indigenous people, to be able to attack our demarcation. For us, this is very low. We do not go into the merits of giving a response with documents. We do this in practice”, Edinho Macuxi, general coordinator of the CIR, told Brasil de Fato.
Mendes, who has notorious ties to agribusiness, further suggested that indigenous people would be better off if they remained working for non-indigenous rice farmers, who were relocated from Raposa Serra do Sol when the area was continuously demarcated.
“The news is that after the closure of the 5,000-hectare rice field there, many Indians who worked there went to collect garbage in Boa Vista (RR)”, stated Gilmar in the Supreme Court plenary.
In the land of Raposa Serra do Sol, indigenous people remember without nostalgia the time when rice monoculture dominated 20 thousand hectares. According to Edinho Macuxi, all Supreme Court ministers will be invited to the indigenous land in December this year, when there will be a party to celebrate the overturning of the time frame by the STF, to get to know the reality of the region up close.
Sustainable livestock and cheap meat
In Raposa Serra do Sol, the highlight of the 4th Agricultural Products Fair was the variety of agricultural products, which correspond to the eating habits of indigenous populations, and are sold at prices below the market. Traditional seeds are cultivated and sold as a way of keeping ancestral cultures alive. Among the products are split beans, string beans, regional black beans, cowpeas, red beans, tilibra corn and 40-day corn.
:: In historic judgment, STF overturns time frame for indigenous lands by 9 votes against 2 ::
“Here the price of meat is R$20 per kilo. If it were in the Boa Vista market (capital of Roraima), this price would certainly reach above R$40. Within the community, where minister Gilmar Mendes said that ‘Indians’ are starving, a kilo of meat is cheaper. And the product is ours, not a farmer’s product. Here, the cattle breeder is the indigenous people, and we are proud to work on the land that we did not win, but rather fought for and conquered”, emphasized Enock Taurepang, deputy general coordinator of the CIR.
For Enock Taurepang, prosperity is the result of the demarcation of Raposa Serra do Sol and demonstrates the consolidation of indigenous land policy that resulted, 18 years ago, in the demarcation and approval of the 1,747 hectares of the Raposa Serra do Sol Indigenous Land, which became symbol of the struggle of Brazil’s indigenous peoples. The territory has around 26 thousand indigenous people from the Wapichana, Makuxi, Taurepang, Patamona and Ingarikó peoples.
1st seed bank maintains GMO-free ancestral culture
On Friday (29), the last day of the 4th Sustainable Organic Agricultural Products and Indigenous Crafts Fair, the indigenous people of Raposa Serra do Sol inaugurated Willimon’s first traditional, organic and sustainable seed bank.
“Our seeds were endangered. We decided to rescue the traditional seeds we have here. The idea is that all communities have their traditional seeds so as not to depend on seeds that come from outside, from other states, with GMOs. The seed bank will be used to store them and, when someone wants a certain seed, they will be able to purchase it here”, explained Amarildo Makuxi, one of the local indigenous leaders of Willimon.
“These are seeds planted by ourselves. Nobody works with land mechanization here. Our products are all organic and manual. We have a diversity of seeds and today it produces a lot of results. Many communities no longer had seeds and today they managed to acquire them through our fair. We have already sent seeds to other states, other indigenous peoples, including the Yanomami”, added Amarildo Makuxi.
Discover the Agricultural Products Fair
The 4th Fair of Sustainable Organic Agricultural Products and Indigenous Crafts in the Willimon region was held from September 26th to 29th at the Willimon Center, in the Raposa Serra do Sol Indigenous Land, in Roraima, and included cultural and sporting activities and an indigenous crafts show .
At the end, this Friday (29), the program included the inauguration of the traditional seeds counter; exhibition of sustainable agricultural products and indigenous crafts; football and horse racing tournament; awarding prizes to competition winners; and a cultural night, with parixara, a ritual of the traditional people of Roraima, and forró caxiri in the gourd.
:: Gratitude, unity and ancestry: discover the Parixara songs and dances of Roraima ::
Editing: Rodrigo Durão Coelho