Sacred Land

Indian tribes reclaim their ancestral land

Sacred Land Can you own a piece of land? If it is the sacred land where your ancestors hunted and fished and are now buried upon, do you have more claim to it than a farmer who has bought the land from the Government and possesses land titles?
In 2003, the Guarani Indians reoccupied 14 farms in their ancestral land in Mato Grosso do Sul in Brazil. The Federal Court ordered their eviction, but the farmers who had lost the land they bought could not wait, and decided to take matters into their own hands and force the Indians to leave.

"The land is ours. We don't want the land for profit. It's sacred land, it is for everyone," explain the Indians. "We're fed up of promises. This sacred land of ours was taken from us in 1925 by force. There's no money in the world that can pay for the destruction of our Nature. The White Man is in big debt to us." But there is another side to this argument. As one farmer, who was forced from his home explains, "this is where I raised my children, I've been living here for 40 years, and I was thrown out by Indians claiming my land belongs to them. I was saying "Calm down, because if this might be yours it might also be mine". I've put so much work into this; I was chased out of what was mine. What I bought and paid for, and for what I have proof."

As the feuds turn violent, the hopelessness of this conflict becomes clear. As one farmer explains, he would like the Indians to wait and "not to invade other people's land," the problem is evident. Which side are the invaders? Both are desperately trying to hold on to their homes, and both are willing to resort to violence to protect what they believe to be theirs. An eye-opening look at how uncertain the pursuit of justice can be.

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