Aug 26, 2021 - World

In photos: Indigenous people march in Brazil for land rights ahead of court ruling

Photo of an Indigenous person burning incense and leading a crowd of protesters
An Indigenous protestor burns incense during a protest march toward the Supreme Court building in Brasilia, Brazil, on Aug. 25. Photo: Carl De Souza/AFP via Getty Images

Thousands of Indigenous people marched this week in Brazil, dancing and chanting outside the Supreme Court to urge for protection of ancestral lands.

Why it matters: The landmark ruling will decide whether Indigenous people have the right to reclaim land occupied prior to 1988, when Brazil's constitution was ratified.

  • Brazilian state governments and the farming sector have sought to restrict Indigenous claims by invoking the legal cut-off. They argue that Indigenous communities didn't occupy those lands when the constitution was approved, Al Jazeera reports.
  • Indigenous people say they fled their ancestral lands at the time due to landowners' attempts to hunt them down.
    • "They put a price on us. They paid people to kill us and asked them to bring our ears as proof," Woie Patte, a Xokleng chieftain, told Al Jazeera.

Worth noting: The Human Rights Watch has said the policy is a violation of Indigenous rights under international law. A UN human rights expert has also called on the Brazilian court to ensure Indigenous peoples' right to their lands.

In photos
Photo of Indigenous people holding up 2 banners that say: "Genocides, your fate is the Hague court" and "Impeachment" in Portuguese
Indigenous protestors hold a banner that reads "Genocides, your fate is the Hague court" during a protest outside the Supreme Court building. Over 1,000 Indigenous protesters are taking part in a week of protests organized by Articulacao dos Povos Indígenas do Brasil. Photo: Carl De Souza/AFP via Getty Images
Photo of Indigenous people lined up
Indigenous people gather during a demonstration to protect their land in Brasilia, Brazil. Photo: Andressa Anholete via Getty Images
Photo of a group of Indigenous protesters standing in a circle, with the camera focused on one wrapped in a Brazilian flag
Indigenous people from different communities take part in protests to protect their territories. More than 6,000 Indigenous people have called on the Supreme Court to protect ancestral lands and allow the creation of new protected areas. Photo: Myke Sena/dpa via Getty Images
Photo of three Indigenous people watching a large screen showing Supreme Court Justice Luis Roberto Barroso
A screen shows Supreme Court Justice Luis Roberto Barroso during a protest against a land demarcation judgment. Photo: Gustavo Minas/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Photo of a massive crowd of Indigenous protesters, holding banners and signs
Thousands of Indigenous protesters gather in the Brazilian capital bearing bows and arrows and traditional headdresses ahead of the Supreme Court ruling. Photo: Evaristo Sa/AFP via Getty Images
Photo of an Indigenous protester raising their fist
An Indigenous man raises his fist during a protest in Brasilia. Photo: Evaristo Sa/AFP via Getty Images
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