Del-Amerikai indianok fuggetlen orszagot akarnak

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    S. American Indians Seek New Nation

    Indians from Brazil and four other South American countries called for the “resurrection” of an Indian nation on Tuesday, the 250th anniversary of the killing of a tribal chief by European soldiers.

    Thousands of Indians belonging to what they call the “Guarani nation” walked three hours from Sao Gabriel do Sul, 900 miles south of Rio de Janeiro, to the site where chief Sepe Tiaraju was killed in 1756 at the hands of Portuguese and Spanish soldiers.

    The marchers carried signs saying “Our forefathers illuminate our path for the recuperation of the Guarani land” and “Memory and resistance.” The Guarani were the dominant people in southern Brazil, Paraguay, Bolivia and northern Argentina before the Europeans arrived.

    A monument designed by renowned Brazilian architect Oscar Niemayer will be built on the site to commemorate the seven Jesuit “missions” — outposts where priests gave the Indians schooling and taught them arts and handicrafts. Many Indians, such as Tiaraju, felt a bond with the Jesuits, who were later expelled by the Portuguese and Spanish monarchies.

    Indians from various tribes performed ritual dances Tuesday beneath a 65-foot-high cone topped with a cross, stomping on the dirt as children sang songs in native languages.

    A statement prepared by Guarani chiefs and read at the memorial said Indians had been “energized by the soul of our ancestors.”

    “This land was stolen from us,” said the statement, which claimed that large-scale farming had degraded soil in huge parts of what once was Guarani land.

    In Brazil, Indians were considered wards of the state and denied full rights for centuries until the country in 1988 granted them some territory and pledged to demarcate the land within five years.

    But today, less than 50 percent of the promised territory has been demarcated, and landowners are disputing the grants — which together represent more than 390,000 square miles, or nearly 12 percent of Brazil’s territory. Indians say it’s hardly arable, and not enough.

    “Land was the main point in the debate Indians held here,” said Duarte Sose Catri, a Guarani from Paraguay. “Without land, we cannot live, there is no health, there is no education. And we need our full land, with forest, rivers and air.”

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