Mato Grosso, Brazil: Mundukuru People Defending Their Land Welcomed With Bombs and Repression by the State

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Received on 17.10.17:

Mato Grosso – On Friday, October 13th, about 80 Indigenous Munduruku People landed at the construction site of the São Manoel hydroelectric plant, after a seven-day trip on the Teles Pires River, to demand compliance with agreements that were closed – and not met – with the companies responsible for the construction of the São Manoel and Teles Pires
mills, in Mato Grosso, signed last July. The builders of the mills were responsible for the destruction of the two main holy places of the Munduruku nation (Dekuka’a, the Hill of the Apes, and Karobixexe, the Seven Falls of the Teles Pires and home of the Mother of the Pisces), in addition to the desecration of more than ten funeral urns.

The Munduruku People were welcomed by a contingent of the National Security Force, who even fired mortar bombs at the group of men, women and children. The action was authorized by the Ministry of Justice and Public Security (MJSP) in response to a request from the Ministry of Mines and Energy (MME). A prohibition interdict – a judicial order that in advance criminalized three indigenous leaders and imposed a daily fine of 5,000 reais in the event of any action at the São Manuel construction site (EDP Brasil, Furnas Centrais Elétricas and China Three Gorges Corporation) – had been issued by Judge Marcel Queiróz Linhares, of the Second Federal Court of Sinop, on October 11.

The main claim of the Munduruku is a formal apology from the builders of the two hydroelectric plants for the damage caused to the sacred sites and the funeral urns. The demand had been presented to the mills and the federal government in July, when a first action occurred at the São Manoel plant. At the occasion, a public hearing was held for the 28th and 29th of September in the village of Mission Cururu, on the Cururu River, in Jacareacanga, with the presence of the Federal Public Ministry (MPF), Funai’s presidency and representatives of the companies. Only MPF came. The companies sent a notification saying that they would not be held liable for the damages, which motivated the new Indigenous mobilization. “We are coming back because it is a determination of the spirits. We have to please them with our rituals, but as long as the company does not take its responsibility and do not apologize, neither we nor them will not settle down. So we go there with the protection of our ancestors, “explains one of the group’s pajés.

In addition to the National Security Force, the Munduruku were received by a justice officer who, with the intermediary of a Federal Police delegate, presented the court order that prevented them from entering the construction site. Representing the government, Maria Thereza Ferreira Teixeira, director of the Department of Participation and Social Dialogues of the Presidency, said that she would broker the dialogue with the company and the Government, along with a FUNAI server from Colider.

The Munduruku explain that they came to visit their ancestral spirits, perform their ritual and charge companies compliance with the agreements signed in the last occupation of HPP of São Manoel. The group is also willing to negotiate with the directors of the companies and presidents of FUNAI, IBAMA, IPHAN. The mediators confirmed the presence of the director of the FUNAI Directorate for the Promotion of Sustainable Development for a meeting the next day in Alta Floresta, but the Munduruku maintained that they want to speak with the authorities that have decision-making power, the maximum levels of each entity, to take responsibility for what they have done to their local and sacred entities.

Still on Friday night, it was agreed that the Munduruku would be taken for a second visit to the funerary urns at the Museum of Alta Floresta after the evening ritual at Dekoka’a, where they spent the night sleeping on the gravel around fires, on the direction of the old home of the mother of the fighters.

Statement by the Munduruku group:

The Munduruku people have returned!

We women and men of the Munduruku people returned with our pajés to be near our Dekuka’a and Karubixexe. We came to do our ritual. We were here in July to talk to the pariwat who destroyed our holy place. The place where our ancestors live.

First we want the dapixiat (liars) away from us. Do not appear here, the lies that you told in July darkened our eyes but our shamans are with us and now they will not let it fall from your mouth to make our people sick. We want to talk to serious people.

You pariwat do not understand what we write, they listen to an agent, but they do not know how to listen. We held the hearing on our sacred sites neither FUNAI nor the representatives of the companies attended, they are dapxiat!

We are here to defend our rights, to fight the threats to our territory and denounce the hydroelectric plants in the river, we are like the Poy that defeated the tapir, the Munduruku people are like the jabuti we will defeat our enemies greater than us.

The attack of the hydroelectric plants against our sacred sites will not be tolerated. We will not settle until IBAMA cancels the hydroelectric plant’s license until the two companies apologize to our ancestors and our people and fulfil the agreement for the second visit to our ballot boxes.

When we arrived, we were greeted with a bomb, a blockade by the National
Security Forces and an order from a judge that prevented us from entering our own
territory, which was stolen by the plant. We are waiting for justice to this day for the destruction of Dekoka’a and the justice system works to protect the hydroelectric power plant and treat us as criminals. In this role was also the name of leaders, saying that we would have to pay a fine of $5,000 per day if we stay here.

We want to make it clear that we are not criminals. That we are in our holy place and that we have the right to stay here until we are attended to. They handed us a not hand written in pen saying they would bring the FUNAI DPDS director. This is not what we asked for and once again they want to fool us with a piece of paper that is worthless. To respond to MPF and speak with pariwat, lawyers work and write crafts. But the Munduruku people are treated with such disrespect.

We will not accept one more maneuver.

We want the president of IBAMA, president of FUNAI, president of IPHAN and director of CHTP to dialogue with us.

If Miguel Setas and Antonio Mexa are in another country, send the largest representatives of EDP in Brazil or send our leaders there, talk to them in the country where the company that is killing us is coming from.

The Idixidi is the river of the Wuyjuyu people, we leave the wuyḡuybuḡun to stay in the river, only the riverside and fishermen know to respect the river.

We do not choose this war, but we will win!

Sawe!

Munduruku Movement Ipereg Ayu

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