Geography Reference
In-Depth Information
give up their land.” Explanations offered by our project leaders calmed down the
villagers, but we still left without being able to discuss exactly how to address the
assassination of Joaquim. And neither were we able to talk about other important
issues, such as mapping Flowers and Fruits, and the physical demarcation (fences,
trees, and other landmarks) of Sangradouro and Volta Grande, which we were,
one way or another, directly involved with. We left frustrated, but reassured of the
importance of the struggle to fight for Xavante rights. 7
That same evening, in the central plaza of the Idzô'uhu Village, the community
gathered around the fire to discuss what had happened in Volta Grande. The community
asked me to talk about human rights. I explained that there are international laws that
say the Xavante are free and equal to all other peoples and individuals, and they have
the right to self-determination and self-government. We talked about how it is a human
rights violation to subject the Xavante to any act of genocide or violence, and that their
culture cannot be destroyed. Finally we discussed the Xavante's entitlement to quality
health services and education. One of the leaders asked: “What good are these laws in
Xavante territory?” Adão Top'tiro, the headman of the village, spoke about the need to
address the violence in the area peacefully, without accepting provocations. “We are
a'uwe uptabi,” he said, “the real Xavante people.” Several young men were already
talking about retaliation and avenging Joaquin's death. “No,” said Top'tiro, “you will
go to Brasília and talk to the president of Funai instead.” Pointing to the satellite
image on the opening page of the Topic of Maps ( Fig. 6.5 ), the elder called attention
to the intense deforestation around Sangradouro, and the growing devastation inside.
Ró ipré uptabidi ,” he said in the Xavante language, referring to how “very red the
cerrado” had recently become.
Deforestation monitoring satellite systems are color-based: blue is for water,
green for lush vegetation, red for crops planted on deforested land, and white or
grey for deserts or urban areas. 8 The color satellite image of Sangradouro looks
like a green island, amidst a desert of deforested red land ( Fig. 6.6) . Protecting land
borders is a priority for the Xavante and all Indigenous Peoples in Brazil today.
Top'tiro also talked about the pollution of their rivers and lagoons due mostly to
Figure 6.5. From left, Idzô'uhu Village, the savannah, and several plants in that
environment, 2003.
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