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Sun May 9, 2021, 03:55 AM

Brazil: European Colonial History Exposed in Landmark Court Case

by Survival International / May 8th, 2021

Indigenous protest, Brazil April 2018. “By painting the streets red, we’re showing how much blood has already been shed in the struggle to protect indigenous territories” – Sônia Guajajara, a spokeswoman for APIB (Brazilian indigenous organization). © Marcelo Camargo/Agência Brasil

The land rights of the Xokleng, a tribe that was violently expelled from its territory in the 19th and 20th centuries to make way for European colonists, are now the focus of a landmark court case in Brazil.

The Xokleng were brutally persecuted and evicted by armed militias to make way for European settlers. The Supreme Court hearing into the so-called “Time Limit Trick” could now set the effects of these and subsequent evictions in stone, establishing a precedent which would have far-reaching consequences for indigenous peoples in Brazil.

Other Xokleng communities are also fighting to recover some of their territory. The Konglui Xokleng in Rio Grande do Sul state have launched a ‘retomada’ (reoccupation) of their land, which is now occupied by a national park. The government wants to make it an ‘ecotourism’ destination. © Iami Gerbase/Survival

. . .

The Brazilian government encouraged Europeans to settle on indigenous land, and allocated them large parts of the Xokleng and other indigenous territories at the beginning of the 20th century. It also financed a so-called “Indian-hunting militia”, which accelerated the colonial land grab. This militia specialized in the extermination of indigenous peoples and hunted down the Xokleng.

“The Redskins are interfering with colonization: this interference must be eliminated, and as quickly and thoroughly as possible,” German colonists demanded at the time.


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