World Rainforest Movement

Indigenous Assembly of Tupinikim and Guarani

The Ist Indigenous Assembly of the Tupinikim and Guarani took place in December 8th at the Community Center of Coquerial in Aracruz.

The organizers consider that the event was a success. There were about 200 indigenous people participating (160 Tupinikim and 40 Guarani) of all the six villages. Most important authorities were the vice-governor of Espirito Santo, the secretary of justice of Espirito Santo and the attorney general of Espirito Santo. Two other regional indigenous movements -APOINME and the Council of Indigenous Peoples of Minas Gerais- also sent representatives. There were 3 state members of parliament present and a large number of social organisations including the Church and the workers’ union SINTICEL. Notorious abscences were that of the Minister of Justice and of the President of FUNAI. They did not send a representative either. This fact was strongly denounced by the assembly.

The indigenous peoples decided to make a statement of support to SINTICEL, since the whole directory of the trade union has been sent to court by Aracruz Celulose, because they showed their indignation with measures by the company to cut in health benefits of the workers . SINTICEL is seeking for support in this struggle by asking activists to contact trade unions in all countries to write to Aracruz Celulose expressing their disagreement with its attitude.

The assembly stressed that nowadays in Brazil, indigenous peoples will only succeed in guaranteeing their rights if they struggle, and if they take their own decisions.

The final declaration of the Assembly is included as an Annex in this Bulletin

Source: Winfried Overbeek, CIMI-Leste, November 10 1997.