Letter of the Xavante community to the Brazilian society

During ECO92, we started to fight for our land, the land of the Marãiwatsédé.

In this region, the ancestrals, our great-grandparents have lived on
the land. This region is the origin of the people of Marãiwatsédé. In
this so beloved land the people of Marãiwatsédé was created.

Now the eviction of the intruders has begun. The elders waited too
long to take the non-Indigenous off of the land. They underwent great
suffering. A lifelong of suffering, longing to do away with the big
farmers.

The federal laws, the Constitution, the authorities are on our side.
Officials of the National Force, the Military, and the Federal Police
are on our side because President Dilma acknowledges that the land
belongs to the Xavantes of Marãiwatsédé.

We thank the authorities and all entities that support us in this
struggle of truth against lies. The eviction of the intruders is
glorious.

Does the land belongs to the white people? Did the parents,
grandparents, great-grandparents of the farmers were born here? We
know, and the Marãiwatsédé community knows that they were not born
here! Those who have always occupied the land were the indigenous
people. The Xavante of Marãiwatsédé. Today the community expects a
quiet eviction of the intruders.

Who occupied the land were our parents, our grandparents, our
great-grandparents, who were born here, grew up here, threw parties
for teenagers. They fought a lot, and did rituals within the territory
of Marãiwatsédé. Neither the farmer nor the squatter lived here before
1960.

There were only the indigenous, and the elders recall that; there were
only two houses in São Félix do Araguaia. When we were taken to the
Indigenous Territory of São Marcos, soon they created cities and our
territory was destroyed.

Who destroyed it, was it the indigenous or the white people? We know
it was the white people that destroyed the forest. This is not our
life. Our life is to preserve the land, nature, rivers, lakes. This is
how we live, our people respect our mother and our mother is nature.
We calmly hope for our victory. We tranquilly sleep, and have
beautiful dreams about the victory of our land.

Before the withdrawal of our land, [they] killed many Xavante. The
farmers of that time were very crooked. [They] killed with gunshot[s].
Tseretem, Tserenhitomo, Tsitomowê, Pa’rada, Tseredzaró, all killed
with shot[s]. We will not betray their spirits.

They were just murdered upon this land. Will farmers pay compensation?

When the people of Marãiwatsédé lived here who first appeared was
Ariosto da Riva. He made photos of our people. He tricked the
Xavantes, destroyed our land. He did not ask for the Xavante people if
he could destroy the forest. It was he who invaded our territory. The
older ones remember, and his pilot was named Nelson. The Xavante
community of Marãiwatsédé wants the land back. It has been reduced.

The difference of the Xavanteos of Marãiwatsédé with others Xavantes
is because the Xavantes of Marãiwatsédé are always preserving the
forest. Not only the cerrado. The (Amazon) forest is [was] the most
important thing for our grandparents who lived here.

It’s the mysterious forest and only the Xavantes of Marãiwatsédé know
their secrets. Therefore, our ancestors have always preserved the
forest, because it is [part of] our culture.

This land is our origin. The Xingus also protected our land, the
ancestors of the Kalapapos were friends of the ancestors of the
Xavantes of Marãiwatsédé.

The animals cannot suffer anymore with so much destruction of the
nature. When the land is returned to our people, the forest will live
again, the animals and plants will return. Our mother will be very
strong and very beautiful, as always. That’s how it has to be.

Damião Paridzane
Chief of the Marãiwatsédé village
*Translated by Global Voices Online

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