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International meeting and occupation of the National Congress mark the first day of the III Indigenous Women's March

por | set 11, 2023 | Notícias | 0 Comentários

The third edition of the Indigenous Women's March began this Monday under blue skies in the federal capital. Held in Brasilia, this year's event has the theme "Women Biomes in Defense of Biodiversity through Ancestral Roots". The meeting brings together indigenous women from all over the country to strengthen their role in decision-making spaces, as well as to debate the challenges and propose dialogues to influence indigenous politics in Brazil.

Camped out on the lawn in front of the TV Tower, a tourist attraction in the city center, the women colored the landscape with their headdresses, handicrafts and pennants. This year, the March focuses on the idea of body-territory, highlighting the concept of women-biome. The aim is to disseminate the understanding that the bodies and existence of indigenous women are directly crossed by the violation of territories. Likewise, all forms of violence against indigenous women also have an impact on environmental preservation.

A The March is organized by the National Articulation of Indigenous Women Warriors of Ancestry (ANMIGA), an initiative supported by ELAS+ Giving for change through the call for proposals Building Movements. Braulina Baniwa is a co-founder of ANMIGA and stresses the importance of indigenous women being protagonists in the discussion on environmental justice.

"The state can't think of projects without talking to us, without making us the protagonists in this process of protecting our bodies-territories, the Brazilian biomes. When we don't have our land demarcated, the first to feel it are our women and children. We are here, we are the first Brazilians, we need this respect. We are here for ourselves, for those who came before us and for those who will come. Never again a Brazil without us. Braulina Baniwa

Reforesting Congress

One of the most eagerly awaited events for women on the first day of the March, the solemn session "Reforesting Congress" brought together 500 indigenous women in the Chamber of Deputies to debate the central demands of indigenous peoples. Dozens of women, representing all of Brazil's biomes - the Amazon, Cerrado, Caatinga, Atlantic Forest, Pampa and Pantanal - took to the floor of the plenary to highlight urgent needs, especially related to biodiversity and climate emergencies.

First indigenous woman to chair the National Foundation for Indigenous Peoples (FUNAI), Joenia Wapichana was present at the session and spoke about the need to guarantee financial resources for women's struggles.

"It's important that we reaffirm our rights, and it's also important that there are actions to implement them. And it starts here [National Congress]: investment, budget to make indigenous peoples autonomous in the construction of their well-being." Joenia Wapichana


Mulheres indígenas em sessão solene na Câmara dos Deputados (Bruno Spada / Câmara dos Deputados)

 The Minister for Indigenous Peoples, Sonia Guajajara, was greeted with applause and cowbells when she arrived at the plenary. In her speech, she looked back over previous editions of the Indigenous Women's March, pointing out that the aim is to transform society.

Não é apenas um tema. É uma luta pela nossa existência, é uma luta pela nossa vida. É muito importante essa presença em Brasília, é muito importante essa Marcha, que é esse reencontro, essa troca de energias que nos fortalece. Não queremos apenas ocupar um cargo, queremos provocar mudanças na sociedade e na institucionalidade para que possam compreender que somos mulheres diversas e temos tradições diferentes”. Sonia Guajajara


International march

In addition to bringing together the struggle of Brazilian indigenous women, this year's March brings together indigenous languages from all over the world. A delegation of 30 indigenous women from all continents is present to discuss an action plan, based on the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).

Last year, CEDAW's indigenous women's committee succeeded in approving General Recommendation 39, which sets out the general obligations of signatory states in relation to the human rights of indigenous women and girls, such as the right to equality and non-discrimination, access to justice, the right to effective participation in political and public life, nationality, education, work, health and culture.

The international delegation present at the March is made up of indigenous women from Africa, Asia, Latin America, the United States and ethnic groups from Oceania, Eastern European countries such as Russia and Nordic countries such as Finland. Women who are political leaders in their territories, some of whom hold elected office in the countries where they live.

Monica Chuji, of the Kichwa ethnic group, lives in the Amazon region of Ecuador and is the Latin American director of Indigenous People Right International. She celebrates this international meeting in Brazil and believes it is an important way of building a global women's agenda.

"The struggle of the indigenous women of Brazil is the struggle of all the women of the world. It's important for us to meet more leaders from all Brazilian territories, so that together we can build a global agenda." Monica Chuji

According to UN estimates, there are 238.4 million indigenous women and girls around the world, present in around 90 countries and belonging to 5,000 different peoples.

The III Indigenous Women's March runs until September 13, with a daily program in the center of Brasilia.