[Fwd: Rondonia Action Alert]

Ismael Garcia (ismael_garcia@HARVARD.EDU)
Fri, 18 Oct 1996 14:29:03 -0500

>Tau, Hola, Hello,
>rainfor.general@gnosys.svle.ma.us wrote:
>> Original Sender: kenneth_walsh@edf.org
>> Mailing List: NATIVE-L
>> From: Kenneth Walsh <Kenneth_Walsh@edf.org>
>> Date: Mon, 14 Oct 1996 07:23:31 -0400
>> Stephan Schwartzman Vincent Carelli
>> Environmental Defense Fund Indigenous Work Center (CTI)
>> Tel. 202-387-3500 (55 11) 813 3450
>> Fax 202-234-6049 (55 11) 813 0747
>> steves@edf.org
>> Amazon Rancher Carries Out "Ethnic Cleansing" of Indians to Get
>> Land in Rondonia:
>> Genocide in the Amazon
>> 10/10/95
>> Filmaker Vincent Carelli, of the Indigenist Work Center (CTI) in Sao Paulo
>> and Marcelo Santos of the National Indian Foundation (FUNAI) documented
>> today that a rancher in Xupinaguaia county in Rondonia state in the
>> Brazilian Amazon bulldozed the remains of a village of uncontacted
>> Indians, to erase evidence of the Indians'presence. Before and after areal
>> photographs of the village site reveal the destruction. The cattle rancher
>> had already clearcut the forest in the area. This is the most recent peice
>> of evidence in a pattern of killings, terrorism, forced removal and
>> destruction of the traces of uncontacted Indians over the last decade in
>> Rondonia that the NGO and Santos, a government Indian agent, have brought
>> to light. Indians in Brazil in theory are guaranteed rights to the land
>> they traditionally occupy by the Constitution, and the government is
>> obligated to protect them. This pattern of genocide of uncontacted
>> Indians in Rondonia has yet to be investigated by the police and has gone
>> entirely unpunished by the courts.
>> In mid-September, FUNAI agents in Rondonia delivered a report to Federal
>> Prosecutor Francisco Marinho, in Porto Velho, Rondonia documenting the
>> expulsion by gunfire of uncontacted Indians from their village. Witnesses
>> attest that the rancher Hercules Golviea Dalafini, of the Modelo ranch in
>> Xupinaguaia county ordered his men to open fire on the surviving members
>> of an uncontacted Indian group to drive them off of land that he claims.
>> On September 13, a National Indian Foundation (FUNAI) team discovered a
>> clearcut in the forest on the site of an indigenous garden, where a
>> bulldozer had attempted to extinguish the traces of a wrecked Indian
>> house, and holes dug by the Indians around it. The remains of a garden of
>> corn and papaya were still clear at the site, as were 14 holes and signs
>> of an older house.
>> Various reports confirm that in January of 1996 the rancher hired a
>> contractor to clearcut the area in month of January. The contractor
>> entered the village shooting, pulled down and burned the longhouse, and
>> destroyed the garden of corn and squash. On this occasion, three Indians,
>> with long hair and without clothing, fled and were pursued through the
>> forests on the ranch. Later, a bulldozer opened an acess road for the
>> deforestation and attempted to cover up the vestiges of the village. That
>> the deforestation was done in January, the height of the rainy season,
>> indicates that the rancher's intent was to destroy evidence of the
>> Indians' presence, since deforestation for cattle pasture or agriculture
>> is done in the dry season.
>> This type of action by cattle ranchers against isolated Indians in
>> Corumbiara and Xupinaguaia counties has been repeated over the last ten
>> years. In 1984, loggers' trucks were shot with arrows by Indians in
>> vicinity of the Igarape Umere (Umere Creek). In 1985, Marcelo Santos
>> reported evidence of a possible massacre of Indians on Mr. Junqueira
>> Vilela's Yvupita ranch. He found the same scenario as last September:
>> houses and gardens destroyed, a bulldozer to finish the job, and bullet
>> shells.
>> No judicial inquiry was ever opened to establish what had happened. In
>> April 1986, FUNAI interdicted a 60 thousand hectare area for nine months,
>> during which time the cattle ranchers continued clearcutting freely,
>> interfering with FUNAI's attemtps to contact the Indians. On confirming
>> that the Indians were not at the moment on the Yvupita ranch, FUNAI
>> suspended the interdiction of the area, turning it over to the ranches.
>> Indigenist Marcelo Santos, meanwhile, continued his investigations,
>> visiting the region repeatedly, and collecting references to the Indians
>> from local workers. Starting in 1994, as head of the FUNAI department for
>> Isolated Indians in Rondonia, Santos put the search on a more systematic
>> basis.
>> On September 3, 1995, FUNAI finally located the first two Canoe Indians on
>> the Umere Creek, on the boundaries of Antenor Duarte's Sao Sebastiao
>> ranch, and Alceu Feldman's Olga ranch.
>> The Federal Court in Porto Velho, at the request of the attorney general's
>> office, had already guaranteed a safe conduct on the ranches for the FUNAI
>> team, to allow the search to go forward, and then issued several court
>> orders interdicting a 50 thousand hectare area in order to protect these
>> Indians. By the end of October, contact was consolidated with the Canoe,
>> and another 7 Indians of the Tupari language family. The judicial
>> interdiction was subsequently ratified by FUNAI.
>> In May 1996, filmaker Vincent Carelli, who has documented case since 1986,
>> collected from the Tupari a statement that confirms the ocurrence of an
>> armed attack against these Indians ten years ago, in which about ten were
>> killed. The members of both groups show visibile signs of psychological
>> disturbance from the violence they have suffered. Anthropological reports
>> attest that the Canoe have been driven away at least twice from the left
>> bank of the Umere Creek (on Mr. Almir Lando's ranch).
>> The vestiges discovered last week on the Modelo and Bagatolli ranches
>> suggest that the group in question is a third group, with different
>> characteristics from the others: they dig deep holes in the middle of
>> their longhouses and mark the trees around their villages.
>> The discovery of the first two groups in 1995, and the interdiction of
>> parts of some the ranches in the area appear to have moved rancher Dalfini
>> to a desperate attempt to wipe out the vestiges of indigenous presence on
>> his ranch. The three Indians who lived in the area have fled into forest.
>> The FUNAI team sighted one man last month, while he was collecting wild
>> honey.
>> The World Bank has financed development projects in the region over the
>> last decade that inlcude indigneous protection components. The most recent
>> of these, Planafloro, finances the FUNAI contact teams. World Bank
>> involvment, and the government's contractual obligations to carry out
>> Indian protection, have been insufficient to prevent the extermination of
>> the the Indians of the Umere Creek. In September of 1995, days before
>> Santos made the first contact with the survivors, a UNDP consultant to the
>> Bank project vigorously attempted to convince the new President of FUNAI
>> to cancel the isolated Indians subcomponent of the project, arguing that
>> there were no more uncontacted Indians in the state.
>> Frightend and famished, these small isolated indigenous groups have been
>> submitted over the last decade to a process of ethnic cleansing by the
>> cattle ranchers. The pattern of terroristic explusions, evidence of
>> killings, and destruction of the Indians' homes and means of subsistence,
>> coupled with complete judicial impunity for the perpetrators indicates
>> that the genocide of these Indians is commonplace and accepted in the
>> region.
>> Imo. Sr. Nelson Jobim Ministro da Justica Esplanada dos
>> Ministerios Bl. T Brasilia DF 70064-900 Brasil
>> fax 55-61-2242448 email: njobim@ax.apc.org
>> Request that the Minister ensure a thorough police investigation of the
>> events and that the responsible parties be held judically accountable for
>> their actions. Also request that the Minister instruct FUNAI to fully
>> protect the land of the Indians of Igarape Umere immediately.
>> Please Write:
>> Ilmo. Dr. Julier Sebastiao da Silva Av. Presidente Dutra 2203
>> Justica Federal Centro 78.900-970 Porto Velho, Rondonia Brasil
>> Request that in light of the urgent situtation, the judge approve
>> the judicial interdiction of the territory of the Indians of
>> Igarape Umere, and that he open an investigation and ensure its
>> conclusion.
>> for further information contact:
>> Stephan Schwartzman Vincent Carelli
>> Environmental Defense Fund Indigenous Work Center (CTI)
>> Tel. 202-387-3500 (55 11) 813 3450
>> Fax 202-234-6049 (55 11) 813 0747
>> steves@edf.org