Quick Hit: Massive Indigenous Rights Movement Launches Across Brazil

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Last week, indigenous activists and allies took to the streets of Brazil’s major cities calling for recognition of the rights they are guaranteed within the country’s 1988 Constitution. This is one of the largest examples of indigenous mobilization the country has seen in recent years, though grassroots efforts have gained widespread attention as Brazil enters the global spotlight.

According to Upside Down World:

Hundreds of planned laws and constitutional amendments targeting the rights of indigenous and traditional communities are under debate in Brazil’s Congress and risk being passed this month before lawmakers go into recess, making this week’s mobilizations both urgent and timely.

“We are here because Congress wants to take our rights and extinguish our people,” said Chief Raoni Metuktire, a legendary Kayapó leader from the Amazon. “This assembly is important because it aims to unite our peoples against this threat.”

Hundreds of planned laws and constitutional amendments targeting the rights of indigenous and traditional communities are under debate in Brazil’s Congress and risk being passed this month before lawmakers go into recess, making this week’s mobilizations both urgent and timely.

In addition to presiding over this unprecedented assault on indigenous rights, the Rousseff government has demonstrated the worst record of indigenous territorial demarcation since the nation’s dictatorship era. Further undermining the integrity of these territories, the office of her Attorney General proposes Ordinance 303 in order to veto any expansion of demarcated lands while authorizing the construction of roads, energy transmission lines, and military installations within their borders when such projects are deemed relevant to “national security.”

Critics also argue that this administration has prioritized Brazil’s image abroad over its own citizens, spending millions of dollars on mega events targeted at tourists while the country’s education and transportation systems are in shambles. This was a major theme of the huge #changebrazil marches that broke out earlier this year, the first such widespread activism since Brazil was under dictatorship.

Bay Area, California

Juliana is a writer, a speaker, and a consultant. Her blogging work focuses on feminist and racial justice movements lead by Latinas throughout the Americas, touching on issues such as environmental justice, immigration, colonization, land rights and indigenous movements. She has been a regular Contributor to Feministing since Spring of 2013, and also been published on the Huffington Post, Mic, and the Feminist Wire. Juliana studied Latin American and Latinx Studies at the University of California and is now based in the Bay Area where she has worked with various organizations on social media and communications strategy. In her free time, she likes to dance salsa and tango and practice Portuguese with her cousins via Skype.

Juliana is a Latina feminist writer and digital communications specialist living in California.

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