Indigenous rights and land under threat in Brazil

Indigenous rights and land under threat in Brazil

Brazil is voting to take away Indigenous lands, to cancel Indigenous rights, and to remove the protections of the Amazon forest

Via the Gesturing Towards Decolonial Futures Collective

Indigenous peoples in Brazil are mobilizing against two initiatives of the far-right government in Brazil that were designed to take away their lands, to cancel their rights and to remove environmental protections so that the Amazon forest and other protected places can be open to further industrial and agro-business exploitation.

One of these initiatives will be voted on 23 June. Therefore Indigenous peoples from all corners of Brazil are travelling to the capital, Brazilia, for a massive protest for their rights and the rights of nature.

An indigenous woman stands, arms outstretched, in front of a row of riot police.
Photo: Mídia NINJA / Mobilização Nacional Indígena

In the last three weeks, Indigenous peoples all over Brazil have intensified their mobilization to defend their rights against Bill 490, which is supported by the Bolsonaro administration and all his allies in the National Congress. PL 490 is a bill against the demarcation of Indigenous territories, also proposing the reduction of the territories already demarcated and allowing for their exploitation by companies. PL 490 tramples on Indigenous peoples’ right to be consulted [about their land] by giving the Brazilian government a free reign to decide on the start of an enterprise within Indigenous territories without having to consult with Indigenous peoples.

For this reason, Indigenous peoples and leaders from across Brazil are mobilizing to fight against the approval of this bill. There are already almost two thousand Indigenous leaders in Brasilia, who have been attacked daily by the police under orders from the President of FUNAI (the agency that is supposed to manage Indigenous affairs), who is a police officer. And Indigenous leaders and activists have been brutalized. As if they hadn’t suffered enough attacks by illegal prospectors and miners that have been invading the territories of Indigenous peoples every day. 

Indigenous protestors stand in a line holding small black coffins with white crosses on them.

Bill 490 is under the responsibility of the Federal Supreme Court to rule whether it is valid or not. Bill 490 is an unconstitutional proposal because it violates the rights guaranteed to Indigenous peoples by the Federal Constitution, and it also violates legal frameworks such as the ILO Convention 169 and the United Nations’ Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

On June 23, this bill will be brought again before the Supreme Federal Court. For this reason, Indigenous leaders across Brazil are mobilizing a major action against the approval of this bill. Therefore, we need support to ensure the transportation of leaders, food, water, and materials to set up a large camp in the city of Rio Branco. We are seeking support to organize this major action in defense of life, in defense of the rights of Indigenous peoples, in defense of our territories in the Amazon Forest.


Visit the fundraiser page on GoFundMe

Learn more about the work of the Huni Kui people in this interview with Chief Ninawá Huni Kui:

Portrait of Chief Ninawá
Filed Under: News


Ninawa Huni Kui is the President of the Federation of the Huni Kui people in Acre, Brazil. He is the spokesperson for nearly 15000 Indigenous people in 104 villages across 12 Indigenous territories.

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