Brasilia - DF, April 24 to 26, 2019



We, more than 4,000 leaders of indigenous peoples and organizations from all regions of Brazil, representatives of 305 indigenous peoples, gathered in Brasília (DF), from April 24 to 26, 2019, during the 15th Free Land Encampment (ATL), outraged by the scorched earth policy of the Bolsonaro government and other state organs against our rights, we came out to publicly state:


1. Our vehement repudiation of governmental proposals to exterminate us, as they did with our ancestors during the period of the colonial invasion, during the military dictatorship and even in more recent times, all so we renounce our most sacred right: the original right to our lands, to our territories and natural assets that we have preserved for thousands of years and that form the foundation of our existence, our identity and our way of life.


2. The 1988 Federal Constitution enshrined the multi-ethnic nature of the Brazilian State. However, we are experiencing the most serious scenario of attacks on our rights since the country's re-democratization. The Bolsonaro government claims to do this given a bankruptcy of the indigenous policy, through the deliberate dismantling and the political instrumentalization of the institutions and the actions that the Public Power has the duty to guarantee.


3. In addition to attacks on our lives, cultures and territories, we repudiate the attacks orchestrated by the Congressional Agribusiness Caucus against Mother Nature. The Ruralista bloc is accelerating the debate around the General Environmental Licensing Law, in collusion with the Ministries of Environment, Infrastructure and Agriculture. The project seeks to exempt impactful licensing activities and condenses the three phases of licensing into a single step, profoundly altering the process of issuing these authorizations throughout the country, which will strongly impact Indigenous Lands and their environments.


4. The economic project of the Bolsonaro government responds to powerful financial interests, to private corporations, many of them international, to agribusiness and mining interests, among others. Therefore, it is a government that is strongly compromised, anti-national, predatory, ethnocidal, genocidal and ecocidal.


Demands of the XV “Free Land” Encampment

Given the somber scenario of death that we face, we, participants of the XV Free Land Encampment, demand, from the different institutions of the Three Branches of the Brazilian State, the following claims:


1. Demarcation of all indigenous lands, assets of the Union, as determined by the Brazilian Constitution and establishes Decree 1775/96. The demarcation of our territories is fundamental to guarantee the physical and cultural survival of our peoples, while being strategic for the conservation of the environment and biodiversity and overcoming the climate crisis. Emergency and structured actions by the responsible public agencies, with the purpose of containing and eliminating the growing wave of invasions, land subdivisions, deforestation, leases and violence, illegal and criminal practices that constitute a new phase of pillage of our lands, against our exclusive legal right to use and benefit from it.

2. We demand and expect the National Congress to make changes to MP 870/2019, removing the powers of demarcation of indigenous lands and environmental licensing from the Ministry of Agriculture, and that these competencies be returned to the Ministry of Justice (MJ) and the National Indigenous Foundation (FUNAI). That FUNAI and all its attributions be linked to the Ministry of Justice, with the budget and staff necessary to carry out its institutional mission to demarcate and protect indigenous lands and ensure the promotion of our rights.

3. That the right of isolated indigenous peoples to decide to remain in this condition is respected. That the conditions be so guaranteed by the Brazilian State with the reinforcement of the operational conditions and actions to protect the territories occupied by isolated peoples and those recently contacted.

4. Revocation of Opinion 001/2017 of the Federal Attorney General's Office.

5. Maintenance of the SUS Indigenous Health Subsystem, which is a federal responsibility, with the strengthening of the Special Secretariat of Indigenous Health (SESAI), guaranteeing the participation and effective and autonomous social control of our peoples and the necessary conditions for implementation of the VI National Conference on Indigenous Health. We reiterate our position against any attempts to put the health care of our peoples in the hands of the municipalities or states.


6. Effectiveness of the differentiated and quality indigenous education policy, ensuring the implementation of the 25 proposals of the second National Conference and of the ethno-educational territories. To rebuild institutional conditions and spaces, such as the General Coordination of Indigenous School Education, in the administrative structure of the Ministry of Education to ensure our impact on the formulation of the indigenous school education policy and the fulfillment of our demands that involve, for example, improvement of the infrastructure of indigenous schools, training and hiring of indigenous teachers, and the development of differentiated teaching materials.

7. Implementation of the National Policy for Territorial and Environmental Management of Indigenous Lands (PNGATI) and other social programs aimed at guaranteeing our food sovereignty, our multiple modes of production and our well-being.

8. Restitution and regular functioning of the National Council of Indigenous Policy (CNPI) and other spaces of indigenous participation, eliminated along with other spaces for popular participation and social control, by Decree 9.759 / 2019. The CNPI is our achievement as a democratic space for dialogue, articulation, formulation and monitoring of specific and differentiated public policies, designed to meet the rights and aspirations of our peoples.

9. End violence, criminalization and discrimination against our peoples and leaders, including by public agents, ensuring the punishment of those responsible, redressing the damages caused and commitment of the government to protect our lives.

10. Archiving of all anti-indigenous legislative initiatives, such as the Proposed Amendment to the Constitution (PEC) 215/2000 and the Provisions (PL) 1610/1996, PL 6818/2013 and PL 490/2017, aimed at suppressing our fundamental rights: our right to difference, our uses, customs, languages, beliefs and traditions, the original right and exclusive legal use and benefit of the lands we have traditionally occupied.

11. Applicability of international treaties signed by Brazil, which includes, among others, Convention 169 of the International Labor Organization (ILO), the Conventions on Cultural, Biological and Climate Diversity, the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. These treaties reaffirm our rights to land, territories and natural assets and the State's obligation to consult us about administrative and legislative measures that may affect us, such as the implementation of projects that impact our lives.

12. Compliance by the Brazilian State with the recommendations of the UN Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Peoples and with the UN Recommendations sent to Brazil on the occasion of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), all aimed at preventing setbacks and guaranteeing the defense and promotion of rights of the indigenous peoples of Brazil.

13. To the Federal Supreme Court (STF), we will never allow and legitimize any retrograde and restrictive reinterpretation of the original right to our traditional lands. We hope that, in the judgment of Extraordinary Appeal 1,017,365, related to the case of the Indigenous Land Ibirama Laklanõ, of the Xokleng people, considered of General Repercussion, the STF reaffirms the interpretation of the Brazilian Constitution according to the thesis of Indigenato (Original Rights) and excludes, definitively, any possibility of accepting the thesis of the Indigenous Fact (Temporary Framework).

 We hold this 15th Free Land Encampment to tell Brazil and the world that we are alive and that we will continue fighting at local, regional, national and international levels. In this sense, we highlight plans to carry out the Indigenous Women's March, in August, with the theme "Territory: our body, our spirit".

We reaffirm our commitment to strengthen alliances with all sectors of society, rural and urban, whose rights and forms of existence have also been attacked in Brazil and around the world.

We will continue to contribute to the construction of a truly democratic, plural, just and solidarity-based society, for a pluri-cultural and multi-ethnic State of fact and law, for a balanced environment for us and for the whole Brazilian society, for the well-being of our current and future generations, of Mother Nature, and Humanity. We will resist, whatever the costs!


Brasília (DF), April 26, 2019.





*thanks to Amazon Watch for sharing the translation