On his first official trip to Indigenous land of Amazon rain forest Brazil president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva expressed support for creating new territories for those communities. Lula addressed around 2000 indigenous people who painted their faces, wore traditional feather headdresses and sang songs to welcome him.
He said he wants quick demarcation of their lands “before other people take over, invent false documents” to claim ownership rights. That has frequently happened in Brazil’s past, which is what led to the beginning of the demarcation procedures more than 50 years ago.
“We need to quickly try to legalize every land whose (demarcation) studies are almost finished”. Lula spoke at the 52nd general assembly of the Indigenous peoples of the State of Roraima. “So the Indigenous can take the land that is theirs,” he said.
However, Lula refrained from actually introducing any new designations, which are eagerly awaited by Indigenous people and activists for their rights. Many already had their hopes dashed. That new demarcations may take place in the first 30 days of his administration, which began Jan. 1.
Their campaign forced Lula to draw boundaries for 13 new Indigenous areas that had completed all necessary procedures. Which only need presidential approve. Doing so would mark a sharp change in policy from the previous administration of Jair Bolsonaro. He did not demarcate any land for them during his presidency.
Some of the territories pending a presidential authorization began their demarcation processes decades ago. Lula authorized the demarcation of Raposa Serra do Sol in 2005, during his first term as president. Different from other reserves in the Brazilian Amazon, Raposa Serra do Sol is mostly tropical savannah. It is home to 26,000 people from five different ethnicities.
Lula said in his speech that his administration will definitively expel gold miners from Indigenous lands. “That gold doesn’t belong to anyone. It’s there because nature placed it there. It’s on Indigenous land,”
Lula said there will be a meeting involving leaders of countries of the Amazon rainforest — Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela.