The Federal Supreme Court (STF) postponed to Thursday (2/9) the votes of ministers in the judgment on the validity of the thesis of the “time frame” for demarcation of indigenous lands.
The trial resumed at 2 pm on Wednesday, but ended four hours later without the ministers manifesting.
The Wednesday session was occupied by speeches by lawyers for the parties and organizations that figure in the action as amice curiae (an expression in Latin that means “friends of the court” and designates groups that present arguments to try to influence the ministers’ votes).
The trial will resume on Thursday and has repercussions for several indigenous peoples who are claiming the demarcation of territories.
According to defenders of this concept, only the communities that occupied them on the date of promulgation of the Constitution can claim the demarcation of indigenous lands: October 5, 1988.
The thesis has been formally adopted by the federal government since the Michel Temer administration.
In practice, the stance paralyzed new demarcations, since a large part of the pending cases deal with cases in which communities claim to have been expelled from the territories before 1988.
The Jair Bolsonaro government and its ruralist allies argue for the concept to be validated by the court.
Indigenous people claim that the concept is not provided for in the Constitution and that its validation by the STF would deprive many communities of their right to land, which would compromise their ability to maintain ways of life and traditions.
The indigenous people also claim that many communities were expelled from their territories before 1988 and that setting this date as a milestone for demarcation would seal the violence they suffered in the past.
the xokleng case
In the judgment in question, the STF will assess whether the Ibirama La-Klãnõ Indigenous Land — inhabited by the Xokleng and two other peoples, the Kaingang and the Guarani — should or should not incorporate areas claimed by the government of Santa Catarina and by the occupants of rural properties .
The disputed area formally became part of indigenous land in 2003, but is partially occupied by tobacco plantations.
The government of Santa Catarina says that this land was public and was sold to rural landowners at the end of the 19th century – the area was therefore not occupied by indigenous people in 1988.
Indigenous people claim that the territory was used by the community for hunting, fishing and gathering fruit, but that decades of persecution and killing forced the group to leave the area.
The xokleng were one of the people most impacted by the action of bugreiros — militias hired until the 1930s to expel indigenous peoples from territories given to European immigrants in the southern region.
The case gained importance because the STF determined that the decision on the xokleng will have general repercussions.
In other words, if it recognizes that the group’s demand is legitimate, there will be room for other communities to claim territories from which they say they were expelled before 1988.
The trial has already been postponed and stopped again and again – and it is possible that it will be postponed once more.
This will happen if a minister asks for a view of the process, requesting more time to analyze the issue. In this case, there would be no deadline for the resumption of the judgment.
Indigenous people camped in Brasilia are pressing for the case to be judged before the Chamber of Deputies votes on Bill 490, which is in the final stages of processing.
Among other points, the project establishes 1988 as a time frame for the demarcation of indigenous lands.
If the STF invalidates the time frame thesis in the judgment, however, it is likely that the Chamber will have to alter or discard the bill.
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