- Brazil’s Supreme Court voted against the highly controversial time frame proposal, a legal challenge that would have stripped Indigenous rights and opened up traditional territories to mining and agribusiness.
- Indigenous people and organizations hailed the decision as a victory for human rights in Brazil after years of protesting against the legal challenge.
- Activists remain cautious, however, as ministers seek to reach a middle ground between ruralists and Indigenous people, which could affect demarcation processes and encourage economic activities on traditional land.
- The points proposed for a possible agreement include compensating non-Indigenous people for land granted to Native communities and allowing economic activities such as agribusiness on traditional territories.
Hundreds of human rights defenders and Indigenous leaders celebrated in the streets of Brazil’s capital on Sept. 21 as the Supreme Court ruled against the highly controversial time frame thesis, known as marco temporal in Portuguese, in what activists regard as a triumph for the country’s traditional peoples.
“It is a fight that has been fought for many years and we have finally managed to overcome the issue related to the time frame thesis,” Dinamam Tuxá, a regional coordinator at the Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (APIB), told Mongabay against the backdrop of the cheers and chants of 800 people in Brasília celebrating the decision.
The time frame thesis, if approved, would have nullified any Indigenous claims to traditional lands that they weren’t physically occupying on Oct. 5, 1988, the day of the enactment of Brazil’s Constitution. Instead, these lands would have been considered the property of private individuals or of the state, and Indigenous peoples wouldn’t have the right to claim them even if they could prove it was the home of their ancestors.
The thesis ignored the forced displacements that occurred during Brazil’s dictatorship in the years up to 1988 as well as the nomadic lifestyles of some Indigenous communities.
Activists hailed the decision against the time frame thesis as a win for Indigenous rights in Brazil. “The victory over the time frame symbolizes, above all, the guarantee of our lives, the survival of our culture and traditional ways of life,” the Coordination of the Brazilian Amazon Indigenous Organizations said in a statement.
“Without a doubt this is a great victory for Indigenous peoples,” Indigenous Chief Arakuã Pataxó told Mongabay. “The Constitution will remain the same. The time frame thesis would have changed it.”
BREAKING: Supreme Court of Brazil has voted against the Marco Temporal thesis in a groundbreaking ruling. This is a massive win for both the thousands of Indigenous peoples whose livelihoods depend on the forest and our planet’s climate as a whole. #Conservation #IndigenousRights pic.twitter.com/rFUYjS7Ghu
— ICFC (@ICFC_for_Nature) September 21, 2023
This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
You may republish this article, so long as you credit the authors and Mongabay, and do not change the text. Please include a link back to the original article.