KRENAK INDIGENOUS PEOPLE BLOCK RAILWAY OF BIGGEST BRAZILIAN MINING COMPANY
This early morning, about 200 Krenak Indians, supported by 80 people from other indigenous peoples (especially Tupinikim and Guarani from the Espírito Santo state), blocked the railway Vitória-Minas from the Companhia Vale do Rio Doce, the biggest Brazilian private mining company, at a place where the railway passes the limit of the indigenous land already recognized as such.
The Krenak demand that the indigenist governmental authorities (FUNAI) installs immediately a Working Group to restudy the limits of the indigenous Krenak land, besides of other demands related to the railway of the CVRD-company and the Hydro-electric Power Dam of Aimorés, a construction also located close to the land of the Krenak.
Although the police arrived at the place, the situation is calm.
Below follows a communication message from the Indigenous Krenak Association.
Vitória, 01 december 2005
KRENAK INDIGENOUS PEOPLE BLOCK THE RAILWAY VITÓRIA-MINAS
1. The Krenak Land
We, the Krenak People, are immemorial inhabitants of the Doce River Valley, a region in the east of Minas Gerais. Today we are about 250 people. After years of wars with the colonists, we were placed in a village by the Indigenous Protection Service (SPI), in 1910, in an area of about 4 thousand hectares at the left bank of the Doce River, in the nowadays municipality of Resplendor, Minas Gerais. In spite of this, the conflicts continued and for two times (1959 and 1972) we were taken away from our land by the state and federal government, which resulted in a huge exodus of our people to the states of São Paulo, Mato Grosso and other regions of Minas Gerais. In 1972, we were transferred to the Fazenda Guarani, in the municipality of Carmésia (Minas Gerais), and our lands were given over to big landowners. Only in 1997, we succeeded in getting back officially our lands. But the environmental degradation was huge, given the long years of exploitation of the land by agricultural and other activities.
But, an important area of the ancient Krenak territory, the region known as Sete Salões, has not been demarcated until today, although we have always been claiming this area. This area, located at the right bank of the Doce River, was illegally transformed in a Conservation Unit with the name “State Park of Sete Salões”. In 2004, FUNAI committed itself, in the presence of our people and the Federal Public Prosecution Service in Minas Gerais, to create a Working Group (GT) with the aim of beginning the land demarcation process of this area, but the FUNAI went back on its commitment because of the opposite interests of the state government of Minas Gerais.
2. The Companhia Vale do Rio Doce (CVRD) x Krenak People
The Companhia Vale do Rio Doce (CVRD) was and continues to be one of the main institutions responsible for our suffering. The construction of the Railway Vitória-Minas, in the beginning of the 20th Century, provoked a mass and disordered entrance of workers and big landowners in the region. The negative impacts were a quick deforestation, the invasion of our lands, and consequently persecutions and murdering of entire families, almost resulting in the genocide of our people. Besides, the continuous extraction of iron-ore, for several decades, has provoked the pollution and degradation of the Doce River, reduced the fishery and brought diseases to us and to the whole population of the Doce River Valley.
3. The Hidroelectric Power Dam Aimorés x Krenak People
Over the past few years our people are suffering from problems caused by the hydroelectric Power Dam Aimorés. Studies prove that this Dam is impacting negatively our people and our land, but the companies (CVRD and CEMIG), responsible for the Dam, broke the dialogue with our community, suspending conversations about compensations.
Given this situation as a whole, we decided to obstruct the Railway Vitória-Minas until our demands will be attended:
- That FUNAI constitutes immediately a Working Group (GT) for the identification of the “Sete Salões Park” as Indigenous Krenak Land;
- That the companies responsible for the hydroelectric power dam Aimorés take up again immediately the dialogue with our community aiming to define compensations we have a right to;
- That a dialogue is started between the CVRD and our community about an understanding concerning the negative impacts caused by the construction of the Railway Vitória-Minas.
Krenak village, 1st December 2005
INDIGENOUS KRENAK ASSOCIATION