Tribunal upholds Indians’ land rights

A Brazilian federal tribunal has upheld the government’s recognition of the Apyterewa indigenous territory, home to the Parakaná Indians in the Amazonian state of Pará.

Brazil’s President Lula ratified the demarcation of the Parakaná’s land in 2005. The president’s signature is usually the final legal step in the process. But the local authorities contested the demarcation, claiming they would be forced to move rural workers whom the government had previously settled on the land.

The federal tribunal rejected the local authorities’ attempt to have the demarcation annulled.

The Parakaná number about nine hundred people, living in two different indigenous territories in the states of Pará and Tocantins. They live by hunting and by cultivating cassava, and their language is from the Tupi-Guarani family. The Parakaná living in the Apyterewa indigenous territory were first contacted in 1983 and 1984.