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View Diary: Overnight News Digest 08/23/2013 (67 comments)

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  •  Indigenous people fight for their rights in Brazil (20+ / 0-)

    Spiegel: Bow, Arrow, Facebook: Brazilian Tribes Fight for Their Land

    When the helicopter appears above the tops of the mango trees, Alberto, a headman with the Terena tribe, raises his spear into the air, shouts a war cry and calls his men together. About 200 members of the tribe congregate on a meadow. Some shoot arrows at the helicopter, while others swing clubs and cock catapults. Many are wearing headdresses and war paint. "This land belongs to us!" the chief shouts. The helicopter rattles away into the distance.

    The police helicopters fly across Fazenda Buriti, a large cattle range in the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso do Sul, two or three times a day. Indigenous people armed with clubs are guarding the entrance of the ranch, which they have occupied for the last three months.

    Fazenda Buriti is one of 62 farms in the state that the indigenous people have overrun, part of their revolt against the government from the Amazon region to the southern Pampas area. They are fighting for their land, protecting the borders of their reservations, resisting the construction of hydroelectric power plants in their regions and protesting against the advance of the agricultural industry, which is destroying their homeland.

    The occupations are a reaction to Brazil's ruthless treatment of its indigenous peoples. Thirteen years ago, the government promised to turn over the ranch's 145 square kilometers (56 square miles) to indigenous tribes. But the farmer used legal maneuvers to delay the transfer -- until the indigenous people lost patience.

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