With Plantation Takeover, Brazil’s Indigenous Pataxó Move to Reclaim their Land

Environmental News from South America: 

  • On June 22, a group of nearly 200 Indigenous Pataxó people occupied a eucalyptus plantation inside their demarcated territory in Brazil’s Bahia state, setting fire to the trees.
  • In a video manifesto released on June 26, Pataxó leaders drew attention to the wide range of impacts that this and other plantations have had on their lands and health, from pesticide use to water pollution.
  • The occupation comes amid growing resistance to the expansion of eucalyptus in Bahia, and rising frustration among Indigenous peoples over the slow process of gaining full legal rights to their land.
  • The Pataxó people have been waiting for seven years for the presidential decree that would fully demarcate their territory; President Jair Bolsonaro has vowed not to demarcate any Indigenous territories, and has so far kept that promise.

Frustrated with watching agribusiness and eucalyptus plantations destroy their territory, members of several Indigenous Pataxó communities in the Brazilian state of Bahia took over a plantation, set fire to it, and demanded that the multinational companies leave their land for good, in an attempt to halt outside pressure over their land.

In a video manifesto released on June 26, a Pataxó leader stands flanked by two other men in front of a mass of burning eucalyptus trees. “We are expelling the multinationals, the millionaires and billionaires from here,” he says to the camera. “There won’t be a single eucalyptus tree left on our sacred land, because that’s bad. We want our water, quality land, and our biome recovered. We do not accept this shameful destruction.”

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Source: Mongabay

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