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Tekoá Rangaa (Drawing of the village)

In Brazil, the struggle of indigenous peoples for land is becoming increasingly difficult. Even the demarcation of land – which guaranteed some form of reparation for the usurpation of land that began with colonisation and various subsequent invasions by Juruá (non-indigenous people) – has not been implemented.

In the south of Brazil, four originary peoples coexist: Mbyá Guarani, Xokleng, Kaingang and Charrua. The video focuses on listening to a Mbyá Guarani family telling their story of land retaking over 20 years ago: Kerexu (Laurinda Gomes), who’s an elder (xedjari), Yva (Talcira), her daughter, two of her sisters and her grandchildren Yva (Araci) and Karai (Everton). The conversation deals with the difficulties imposed by non-indigenous people to their mode of living, and their relationship with food growth and the surrounding environment, human and more-than-human. We know that, in Brazil as in other countries, native peoples are guardians of forests and native woodlands, a preservation that benefits everyone and is a reserve of life in a world in full mutation towards global warming.

In contrast to this, nefarious powers lead to the loss of rights guaranteed more than 20 years ago in projects that aim to legalise land exploitation through extractivism, agribusiness and mining on indigenous lands, continuing the genocide of indigenous populations and the deforestation of gigantic areas that were previously practically untouched.

As a way of combating genocide and the invasion of ancestral lands, the retaking of lands by various ethnic groups is today fundamental for self-protection and access to primordial natural resources. The conversation also exposes the contradiction with the land limits that the demarcation of indigenous lands depends upon, a conflicting concept for most of these peoples, given that, for example, for the Mbyá-Guarani, territory is freedom of movement – their guatá in the ancestral Yvyrupá. Cartography, a tool of the Jurua (non-indigenous), becomes, therefore, an instrument of protection for these peoples. With cartography and drawing, the indigenous people narrate and imagine their traditional experiences, serving as a record, an exchange of perception between villages, protection and a tool to guarantee free access to and use of their ancestral land.

All the rights of this video belong to the Mbyá-Guarani communities of southern Brazil.

This video was produced during the COP 26 Conference and commissioned by Goethe-Institut Brüssel.

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