Indians in Brazil recently participated in a public hearing on Saturday with Federal Judge Wilson Witzel, at the headquarters of the Federal Court, regarding the issue of being allowed to stay on historical museum property adjacent to the Village Maracana.

The judge had said the Indians could not stay on the property adjacent to the Village Maracanã. This decision was made following an inspection carried out on site ordered by Judge Witzel.

It all started this past Friday, when 21 Indians and about 40 protesters entered the Indian Museum, in Botafogo, and refused to leave after closing. According to the leader of the Indians, Urutau, whose ethnicity is Guajajara, the group went there to ask for the support of the museum's director, José Carlos Levinho, to give the museum back to the Maracana Village.

Given the absence of the museum director,Levinho, the Indians and supporters decided to stay inside the property. Federias police battalions and Shock and Special Operations (BOPE) were deployed after a complaint from people living near the museum. The Rua das Palmeiras museum had been closed for four hours.

The outcome of the actions by the group, after 15 hours of occupation, was mediated by Federal Judge Joseph Wilson Witzel, who had ordered the arrest of the protesters, but then withdrew it after an agreement was reached to vacate the space. The group was taken to the headquarters of the Federal Court in two buses around 7:30 pm. The judge called a representative (Funai) and a prosecutor's MPF for a conciliation public hearing.

A conciliation hearing was held in the presence of the prosecutrix Marylucy Santiago Barra Funai and ombudsman Paulo Celso de Oliveira, who came from Brasilia to the negotiation. The lawyer for the Indians, André de Paula, highly praised the work and interests of the cause of the indigenous magistrate. On Saturday morning, the lawyer presented the headquarters of the National Agricultural Laboratory (LANAGRO), on the grounds of the Village Maracanã as alternative housing for the Indians.

With the lack of alternatives proposed by Funai, Judge Witzel ruled for an inspection by the offices of LANAGRO, which was celebrated with applause and cheers by the audience. After the inspection was carried out around 1:30 pm, the magistrate found that the site does not provide safe conditions for the indigenous people and then returned to the headquarters of the Federal Court for a rehearing behind closed doors.

After more than seven hours of negotiations at the headquarters of the Federal Court and the offer by the National Indian Foundation (Funai) of hosting for four days in a hostel in Glory, 21 indigenous people - including two children - left the court at the end of the afternoon, without accepting any deal. The group had come from the Maracana Village on Saturday afternoon after the violent clash on Friday, at the Indian Museum, in Botafogo. The Indians also did not want to go to an accommodation offered by the state government in Jacarepaguá.

Outraged by the offer of the Funai of being hosted in a hostel, Indian Guajajara Marcia announced at the door of the Federal Court. "We are not negotiating hosting. We want to preserve a historical center. Nor do we want to go Jacarepaguá. We will not be hidden away. We want to show our culture, stay in a location with visibility - and protest."

Since the negotiations with the Indians, Federal Judge Witzel has adopted a more conciliatory tone. The magistrate even opened his office for the group at around 8 am. Feeling more affable, he hugged the daughter of one of the natives, Sarri, who is only 2 years. The liittle girl stole the attention by playing with the cameras of photographers and the judge. The group was even served a breakfast.

Judge Witzel, who has since become sympathetic to the cause of the Indians, has pledged to personally report to Federal judge Marcus Abraham his impressions of the situation experienced by the Indians and the importance of preserving indigenous monument located in the village of Maracanã, to which he referred as fundamental. The order for the removal of the Indians from the old museum is under the jurisdiction of Judge Abraham.

Judge Witzel concluded, "Unfortunately this is not under my jurisdiction, but surely it will be in the capable hands of the magistrates TRF, who have great moral and intellectual capacity to find the best solution."

The leader of the indigenous, Urutau Guajajara, said the only solution that will be accepted by the group is repossession of the museum to the Village Maracanã. He noted that the meeting with members of FUNAI was something historic, early in the conciliation meeting. At the end of the meeting however, disappointed, he said the Funai does not represent them. "I'm not defending our home, but our heritage. That's my story and that of my ancestors are there. And our heritage is not for sale," said Urutau.

The ombudsman Funai, Paulo Celso de Oliveira, who is also of Indian Pancararu ethnicity, said that state's jurisdiction is to find an alternative to this issue. On Monday afternoon, the Indians plan to seek the support of the Federal Public Ministry (MPF) and participate in a meeting in the office of the lawyer representing the group to define the next steps of mobilization. They insist on returning to the old Indian Museum at Maracana.

Responses to "Brazilian Indians fighting for right to repossess Indian museum of their heritage"

  1. StarChild says:

    Warrior Spirit !!!
    TRUTH !!!
    (( "I'm not defending our home, but our heritage. That's my story and that of my ancestors are there. And our heritage is not for sale," said Urutau.
    "We are not negotiating hosting. We want to preserve a historical center. Nor do we want to go Jacarepaguá. We will not be hidden away. We want to show our culture, stay in a location with visibility - and protest."

  2. Anonymous says:

    STAND UP FOR YOUR RIGHTS And what is not back down!!!!!

  3. For thousands of years ... indigenous cultures have been exploited and attacked in the name of profit and ethnocentric views, under the guise of religion and nationalism... it is time for the greedy and the arrogant to stop taking what they can never own.

  4. Anonymous says:

    They will not get justice

  5. Anonymous says:

    If its theirs......give it back theives......

  6. tBone says:

    i don't understand. there is reference to an "old museum". is that different from the museum they occupied? is the museum built on land stolen from them? what is this village? is that the "museum" they want back? this is not written clearly for those not familiar with the situation.

  7. Anonymous says:

    this land was stolen to them 400years ago...the situation is the same today!!! All indigenous people all over the world are always be persecuted today! STRENGHT to ALL OF THEM, Indians from north to south, Aborigens, Africans...!!! keep your knowlege, your culture, your tradition, your love and respect for the nature, your philosophie of life, your heart, your identity!!!! never sell them, never sell your soul!!!

  8. Anonymous says:

    My indigenous native people Stand and don't back down! What has been stolen from you will be returned!!!

  9. Anonymous says:

    they have existed there for how long ... suddenly judge says its not safe to live there... just who the heck volunteered the judges to take over this land. get the heck out of there and leave those people alone in peace.

  10. I'm with Anonymous all the way on this issue ("keep your knowlege, your culture, your tradition, your love and respect for the nature, your philosophie of life, your heart, your identity!!!! never sell them, never sell your soul!") The original peoples (Indians) have a culture which respected and adored Mother Earth and lived on it under Her wise guidance. These peoples and their culture/values MUST be preserved if any of us are to survive these greedy, monsters who are destroying our Mother Earth. I agree: "STAND and DO NOT BACK DOWN!" My prayers are with you.

  11. We - Brazilians who understand what´s going on - feel deeply ashamed of our "democratic government". Indigenous are not save in Earth.. actualy no hope for workers, animals, environment.. by the way: we are prohibited to mention indigenous after our Facebook names. And.. any time a person acquires animals/pets and noble wood, this person is guilty of destroying Amazonia and indigenous, aswel. There´s no such thing as legal noble wood. There are many foreign companies inside Amazonia stealing our natural resources, buying the agreement of ignorants, locals and politicians.

  12. Deon Sydney !khari!as Arends says:

    Hello there. Just to think your prez is enjoying the gala of BRICS with the ANC prez tonight in Durban South Africa. We and you are not even on the Summit's agenda.

  13. Anonymous says:

    this is outrageous!!!

  14. Anonymous says:

    Havent the progress done enough damage to cultures land and life it self? W e all must awake to support what the natives stand for in reality it is the peace and truth which all corrupted ones cant seem to ever acknowledge

  15. Anonymous says:

    The real deal is the world cup in Brazil and the coming Olympic games. Not only the indians are being removed from their own land, but also anyone who is on the main ways that will give access to the statiums and hotels. The indian museum which is owned by the indians by constitution is going to be transformed into an Olympic Museum. Turning our history into ashes. An estimated 100.000 people all over Brazilian cities are going to be removed and there's no plan where these people are going to go to. They are being forced by the shock troops to leave their houses if they do not present any document of the land. As everyone knows in Brazil, probably none of these people have such papers, however they have lived in those places their entire life and some of them even for generations. In Brasil if you occupy an area for more than 2 to 20 years and no one says anything about it this land will be yours. Many rich people in Brazil have got their land in this maner, so we all know many sectors of our gov. are playing a low game against all these people when they remove them just to sell their land for investors who are paying millions of dollars for it. There is a plan to get rid of the indians in Brazil, specially in the Amazon forest where they own the land, however if there is no indians there is no owner and the gov can take the land, from there on you can imagine what the indians are going through down here. The more people they get rid of the more land they have thus more money they will get.

  16. Steve says:

    Everyone needs to be informed and speak up about how greed and shortsightedness is not the path we need to be on. We need to stand together to protect Earth, it's people and animals and plants. Peacefully. We can create Peace on and with Earth if enough of us are vocal. Get vocal.
    Here's a few good resources...

  17. Anonymous says:

    our history is sacred. maybe they will understand when we start disposal of their ancestors history, that immigrated to our countries, changing our entire way of life cause it 'wasn't how they were raised' and throwing it in the trash like they didn't matter. but we wont do that. cause that's not how we were raised.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Frist of all our laws and the law of England and that of the US is different from what we believe to be honest, honored, truthful, and spiritual. This does not mean we do not respect the people but to be able to respect one Nation would it only be right to respect the other Nation also. Even if its just low educated Natives as the world wants to think. Why is it so right to prove and push the belief of what happen in England and US and not able to be alble to share what we are as Natives; no matter what Nation of Natives we are and where we come from. There are so much truth outthere that has been changed for the usaged of the people now who want so badly to take over the land and the people and get what really belongs to our Mother the Earth. Sure we can use what our Mother gives us, but does that meanb we have to rape her, as we are also doing to our Brothers and Sisters of different race or Nation; or to get to the point - 'just dumb old NDN's." For a long time now that is the way of the Wasu (World outside of) to take and to rape and to stop what is not there way and teachings... Let us pray that we can over come this sad way of thinking and finally grow up and become what your God has asked of you to be a Care Taker of the People and the Land.... Aho Mitakeyu Oyasin

  19. Pamela King from Florida says:

    For the meek shall inherit the earth....regardless of what high "officails" claim...they are blind people who serve their bellies/ and/or higher ranks of "human" authoritiy...It will all be cut down soon as a blade of grass...Never give up your faith/hope...and never your commitment to the right way of serving your heritage...I pray blessings on all who struggle with these "roadblocks".. We are ONE <3

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