Evicted Guarani-Kaiowá camp on the roadside

October 31, 2002

This page was created in 2002 and may contain language which is now outdated.

During the night of 12 October 2002, about 200 Kaiowá Indians were thrown out of the village of Tey Cuê in an area called Caarapó, and are now camped on the side of a highway near the town of Dourados, under plastic tarpaulins. Their homes and possessions were burned; they now have little food and no access to clean water.

This group of Kaiowá has being trying to recover its land, Takuára, for years. The land – in Juti, Mato Grosso do Sul – was stolen from them in 1953 by cattle ranchers who renamed it Fazenda Brasília do Sul.

After years of lobbying without success for the authorities to recognise their traditional land in line with the Brazilian constitution, the Indians decided to return to their land in April 1997. They began to rebuild their community and plant gardens. But the ranchers who had occupied the area went to court and a judge ordered the Indians out. In October 2001, more than a hundred heavily armed police and soldiers forced the Indians to leave their land. They were made to settle in Caarapó, an area already populated by other Guarani, supposedly for only a short time while the government's Indians affairs department (FUNAI) negotiated their return to their land. But nothing happened, and the Indians were left stranded on the land of other Guarani, who, because of tensions and a lack of resources, have now expelled them. Takuára / Fazenda Brasília do Sul has now been identified as an Kaiowá territory – but FUNAI continues to delay demarcating the land, leading to unnecessary anguish and suffering for the community.

The Kaiowá are desperate to return to their sacred land, their tekoha. Araldo Veron, one of the Indians camped on the roadside, has told reporters that his father Marcos Veron, the group's leader, has talked of committing suicide. While still in Takuára, Marcos, said 'This here is my life. My soul. If you take me away from this land, you take my life.' The Kaiowá have experienced a terrible wave of suicides since they were driven from their land.

Survival is calling on the Brazilian government to take action so that the these Kaiowá may return home.