III Indigenous Women's March forwards agreements on public policies and deliberates on the goal of increasing female representation in political positions
After three days of debates, meetings and articulations, the III Indigenous Women's March, which had the institutional and financial support of ELAS+, brought around 7,000 people to the streets of the Esplanade of Ministries in Brasilia on Wednesday. Despite the hot sun and low humidity in the federal capital, women from different ethnic groups and from all Brazilian biomes walked for around 4km between the camp and the National Congress. With their chants, prayers and also banners with slogans, they called for the temporal milestone to be overturned, demanded the demarcation of indigenous lands and public policies that guarantee the health and safety of women in their territories.
Despite being in its third edition, this is the first time that the March has had indigenous women in elected positions in Congress and in the top echelons of the federal government - such as Sonia Guajajara, Minister for Indigenous Peoples, and Joenia Wapichana, President of FUNAI.
Occupying political spaces was a decision taken as part of a strategy of resistance by the indigenous movement, adopted to combat attacks and violence incited in recent years. In this sense, one of the March's resolutions is to expand political representation by increasing support for indigenous women's candidacies in the 2024 municipal elections.
At the event held in front of Congress, after the symbolic walk, Minister Sonia Guajajara highlighted the importance of the "cocar caucus" and the positions in the Executive.
"Our presence in these spaces makes a big difference. It's symbolic and representative, it's been many years that we've marched, many years that we've fought. It's important to amplify these voices." Sonia Guajajara
Representativeness and support
The message is also one of support for those who have made it. The thousands of women who took part in the March sent a message that they will uphold the representation they have already won and demand fair conditions for the work of those who have been chosen for the position.
In the last programmatic act of the March, a meeting with the ministers of the Environment, Marina Silva, of Racial Equality, Anielle Franco, of Women, Cida Gonçalves, and of Science, Technology and Innovation, Luciana Santos, announced joint work plans and technical cooperation agreements to promote public policies to combat violence against indigenous women .
Among the practical actions, a Brazilian Women's House will be inaugurated in the city of Dourados (MS), with specific services for indigenous women. In addition, an agreement was signed with the Ministry of Women's Affairs which provides for six meetings to be held, one in each of the country's biomes (Amazon, Cerrado, Caatinga, Atlantic Forest, Pampa and Pantanal) to discuss the creation of the Indigenous Women's House, to provide services in the territories.
Another agreement, signed with the Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES), provides for the promotion of the training of high-level human resources in the country and for scientific research, through programs aimed at the academic inclusion of indigenous peoples.
Minister Marina Silva, recalling the cross-cutting nature of the policies, highlighted the need to put indigenous populations at the center of environmental discussions.
"Of course, indigenous people are in universities, learning and doing the white man's science. But universities and research centers are going to have to learn from the ancient science of indigenous peoples as well. That's why, at the Amazon Summit, the scientific panel on climate change that is going to be created at ACTO (Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization) must also have representation from indigenous and traditional populations."
In addition to the agreements already signed, the ministers present at the meeting also pledged to continue receiving representatives of indigenous women's movements for dialogue. Members of the National Articulation of Indigenous Women Warriors of Ancestry (ANMIGA)an initiative that organizes the March, also handed each of the ministers the booklet "Voices of Ancestry from the 6 Biomes of Brazil", a document that brings the perspective of indigenous politics in the construction and maintenance of rights at a national level.