by Saurav Sarkar
“Democracy Now!” reported that Brazil’s Supreme Court ruled in favor of Indigenous claims to land occupied before 1988. The case had been brought by “agribusiness-backed lawmakers,” the outlet said, and argued that Indigenous people had to have either occupied or made claims to land by the date Brazil’s constitution went into effect for them to now claim it. The court ruled against the lawmakers and for Indigenous groups.
“Areas occupied by Indigenous people and areas that are linked to the ancestry and tradition of Indigenous peoples have constitutional protection, even if they are not demarcated,” said Justice Luiz Fux, reported the Associated Press (AP).
Under the previous president, the far-right Jair Bolsonaro, Indigenous lands had come under increased attack, said the AP. Current president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has been more friendly to Indigenous groups. The proposed 1988 deadline was seen as a crucial issue because many Indigenous groups were displaced from their lands prior to that date. The ruling recognizes the basis for them to make claims to those traditionally occupied lands.
Many Indigenous people and groups waited with bated breath for the decision. “I’m shaking. It took a while, but we did it. It’s a very beautiful and strong feeling,” said Jéssica Nghe Mum Priprá from the Xokleng-Laklano Indigenous people to the Associated Press. “Our ancestors are present — no doubt about it,” she said.