The “1st Meeting of the Women of Western Paraná – The Uprising of Guarani Women and the Strengthening of the Struggle for Land Demarcation”. Photo: Hosoya, 2021.
Dam Watch International, through the Latin American and Caribbean Subcommittee, participated in a historic moment for the Avá-Guarani peoples of Western Paraná Brazil: the “1st Meeting of the Women of Western Paraná – The Uprising of Guarani Women and the Strengthening of the Struggle for Land Demarcation”. The activity took place from August 16 to 20, 2021 at Tekoha Y’Hovy in the city of Guaíra, State of Paraná (PR) where more than 120 people participated each day. The Yvyrupa Commission, an indigenous organization that represents the interests of the Guarani peoples in the southern and southeastern regions of the country were also present, as well as other groups and institutions supporting the Indigenous cause.
The meeting of Guarani women in western Paraná marks a historic moment because it recognizes women’s power in the struggle for the recognition of individual and collective rights. It seeks the formation of female leadership in the region and the strengthening of existing ones and the culture itself.
One of the most important moments of the event was the participation and the report of the cacique, the leader Eunice Antunes. She was the first woman elected cacica in the Indigenous Land Morro dos Cavalos, located in the municipality of Palhoça (SC). During her speech she shared her story: since she was chosen to be chief, the moments of multiple difficulties, threats and violence, as well as her courage and strength that make her currently one of the most expressive and important Indigenous leaders nationally.
Affected by the construction of the Itaipu Binacional Hydroelectric Power Plant, which flooded The Jacutinga Village, part of its ancestral territory, the Guarani were allocated in 1982 to a narrow strip of land between the reservoir and between crops, in the municipality of São Miguel do Iguaçu-(PR). Such space has always been insufficient since there is no possibility to plant, hunt and because it is too small, and does not support the existing population.
In total there are 24 Tekoha (villages) between the municipalities of Foz do Iguaçu and Santa Helena, Terra Roxa and Guaíra (all in the state of Paraná, Brazil) that are not officially recognized by the Brazilian government or Itaipu. All these 24 are considered ” irregular occupation” or “camps”. All have lawsuits for repossession on behalf of the State or individuals against the Indigenous communities. In addition, there is pressure from the locals against the Guarani according to data from the Federal Public Prosecutor’s Office (ESMPU, 2019) and the reports of the Guarani.
Currently out of the entire ancestral territory Guarani in the West of Paraná, only 3 Tekoha/ villages are recognized by the national state and itaipu: They are Ocoy, located near the city of São Miguel do Iguaçu, Añetete and Itamarã located near the city of Diamante d’Oeste.
The indigenous struggles for survival in Brazil
The struggles of Indigenous peoples take place at the national level and are interconnected. In August 2021, the National Indigenous Mobilization took place in Brasília -DF, organized by the Articulation of Indigenous Peoples APIB – “For 521 years, we, Indigenous Peoples of Brazil have experienced and experienced the meaning of struggle. We fight to survive, so that we can be respected by a State that despises our existences, usurps our traditional territories and relegates us to a condition of sub-citizenship” (APIB,2021).
On September 7 to 11, 2021, the 2nd Indigenous Women’s March will also take place in Brasília- DF, organized by the National Articulation of Women Warriors of Ancestry (ANMIGA), which “is a great articulation of Indigenous Women of all biomes of Brazil, with knowledge, traditions, struggles that are added and converged bringing together women mobilized to guarantee the indigenous rights and life of our Peoples” (ANMIGA, 2021).
The situation of Indigenous peoples in Brazil is extremely difficult and is likely to become even more serious. In June this year the House of Representatives approved a legislation project (PL) 490/2007, Arthur Maia (DEM-BA). The project foresees that only those lands that were already in possession of these peoples on the date of the promulgation of the Constitution, October 5, 1988, can be considered indigenous lands. This would make demarcation unfeasible and add even more lost lands of the indigenous peoples in Brazil.
Written by Laisa Massarenti Hosoya and Clara Páez
ANMIGA, Articulação Nacional das Mulheres Guerreiras da Ancestralidade, 2021. Available at: < https://anmiga.org//>. Accessed on: 25 August 2021.
APIB, Articulação Povos Indígenas do Brasil, 2021. Available at: < https://apiboficial.org/>. Accessed on: 25 August 2021.
ESMPU, A. G. K. et al. Avá- Guarani: a construção de Itaipu e os direitos territoriais. 1st ed. Brasília: ESMPU, 2019.
HOSOYA, L. M. Os desafios da comunidade do Tekoha Ocoy no enfrentamento e prevenção da violência de gênero e doméstica. Thesis (Master in Public Policy and Development)- Federal University of Latin American Integration, Latin – American Institute of Economics, Society and Politics. Foz do Iguaçu, p.126.2020.
MARTINS, T. PL 490: PL 490: Entenda o que é o projeto que muda a demarcação de terras indígenas. Available at: <https://www.correiobraziliense.com.br/>. Accessed on: 25 August 21.
MIOTTO, T. PL 490: veja como votaram deputados e partidos na Comissão de Constituição e Justiça da Câmara. Available at: <https://cimi.org.br/>. Accessed on: 25 August 2021.
YVYRUPA, C. G. Yvyrupa Guarani Commission, 2021. Available at: <http://www.yvyrupa.org.br/>. Accessed on: 25 August 2021.