Brazil’s Supreme Court is poised to rule next week on the legality of a government proposal that, if approved, would set back land rights for indigenous peoples by decades and threaten their very survival.
Next week, the Court will rule on the legality of an opinion issued by Brazil’s Attorney General and endorsed by President Temer which would refuse to recognize the land claims of indigenous peoples unless they have occupied their territories continuously since Brazil’s 1988 Constitution was written. This deliberately ignores the fact that countless communities were brutally driven off their ancestral lands during the decades of military dictatorship that preceded this constitution, and many were only able to return to their homes in the years that followed.
If the Supreme Court approves this opinion, it will spell doom for many of Brazil’s indigenous peoples. The theft of tribal land utterly destroys self-sufficient peoples and their diverse ways of life. By negating native territorial rights, this proposal would green-light industrial development on indigenous lands, putting their survival at risk and threatening the forests that stabilize our global climate.