Xakriaba territorial struggle, Brazil


Xakriaba Indian occupation in the North of Minas Gerais dates from prior to the beginning of Portuguese colonization of Brazil. The Xakriaba, along with the Krenak and Maxacali peoples of North of Minas Gerais, are remainder of a huge socio-diversity that included more than 100 different peoples scattered through the territory that today forms the State of Minas Gerais. In 1728, peace was established between indigenous and Portuguese colonists and a letter of donation was signed by Junuário Cardoso ensuring the Xakriaba lands. These lands comprised almost all of the current municipality of Itacarambi, part of Manga and Sao Joao das Missoes.

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Basic Data
NameXakriaba territorial struggle, Brazil
ProvinceMinas Gerais
SiteManga, Itacarambi, Sao Joao das Missoes, Miravania
Accuracy of LocationMEDIUM regional level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock Management)
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Dams and water distribution conflicts
Land acquisition conflicts
Plantation conflicts (incl. Pulp
Specific Commodities
Project Details and Actors
Project Area (in hectares)59000
Type of PopulationRural
Start Date1970
Company Names or State EnterprisesFundacao Rural Mineira (Ruralminas) from Brazil
Relevant government actorsFundacao Nacional do Indio - FUNAI, Fundacao Nacional de Saude - FUNASA, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais - UFMG, Secretaria Especial de Saúde Indígena - SESAI
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersComissao Pastoral da Terra - CPT, Conselho Indigenista Missionario - CIMI, Centro de Agricultura Alternativa do Norte de Minas - CAA-NM, Caritas Diocesana de Januaria, Articulacao do Semiárido Mineiro - ASA/MG
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups MobilizingIndigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Religious groups
Forms of MobilizationDevelopment of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Land occupation
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Public campaigns
In April 2012, the Xakriba held four employees of SESAI hostage to demand improvements in indigenous health service in the region.
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Desertification/Drought, Food insecurity (crop damage), Oil spills, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Potential: Air pollution, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Groundwater pollution or depletion
OtherOn February 10, a company contracted by the Departamento Estadual de Rodovias de Minas Gerais to perform works, released oil into the river that supplies water to the villages Xakriaba. Later, an accident during these works collapsed a bridge inside the Xakriaba territory.
Health ImpactsVisible: Accidents, Malnutrition, Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..) , Health problems related to alcoholism, prostitution, Occupational disease and accidents, Infectious diseases, Deaths
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Increase in violence and crime, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..), Violations of human rights, Land dispossession
Potential: Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseDeaths
Land demarcation
Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Court decision (failure for environmental justice)
Strengthening of participation
Violent targeting of activists
Application of existing regulations
Development of AlternativesImproved health and education services, land demarcation.
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.A significant part of the former Xakriaba territory remains in possession of farmers.
Sources and Materials

CLEMENTINO, A.M e MONTE-MOR, R.L.M. Xacriabas - economia, espaço e formacao de identidade. In: ENCONTRO NACIONAL DE ESTUDOS POPULACIONAIS DA ASSOCIACAO BRASILEIRA DE ESTUDOS POPULACIONAIS, 15, 2006, Caxambu. Anais. Campinas: ABEP, 2006. 18 p. Disponivel e
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PENA, J. L; HELLER, L.; DIAS JUNIOR, C.S. A populacao Xakriaba, Minas Gerais: aspectos demograficos, politicos, sociais e economicos. Revista Brasileira de Estudos de Populacao, Rio de Janeiro, v. 26, n. 1, p. 51-59, jan/jun.2009. ISSN 0102-3098. Disponiv
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MAPA DE CONFLITOS ENVOLVENDO INJUSTICA AMBIENTAL E SAUDE NO BRASIL. Violencia contra Xakriabas prevalece ate mesmo em municipio onde sao maioria, em meio a assassinatos e obras de barragem que fazem aumentar a seca. Disponivel em: Acesso em: 24 abr. 2013
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RELATORIA NACIONAL PARA O DIREITO HUMANO AO MEIO AMBIENTE. Relatorio da Missao ao Estado de Minas Gerais: realizada entre 01 e 06 de agosto de 2004. Rio de Janeiro: Plataforma DHESCA Brasil. Mar. 2006.


ASSUNCAO, Karol. Indigenas lutam para permanecer na aldeia de Morro Vermelho, em Minas Gerais. Fortaleza, 08 abr. 2010. Disponivel em: Acesso em: 05 ago. 2011.
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ARTICULACAO POPULAR PELA REVITALIZACAO DA BACIA DO RIO SAO FRANCISCO. Ordem de paralizacao da rodovia e descumprida e indios Xakriaba interrompem obras. Salvador, 11 fev. 2011. Disponivel em: Acesso em: 05 ago. 2011.
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MELO, Pablo. Acusados de matar indios sao absolvidos. Pablo de Melo Noticias, 14 dez. 2011. Disponivel em: Acesso em: 18 abr. 2013.
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SOUZA, Andre Alves e CAETANO, Santo. Povo Xakriaba tem posse reconhecida pela Justiça Federal de tres fazendas. Peneire Fuba, 26 jan. 2012. Disponível em: Acesso em: 18 abr. 2013.
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POVO XAKRIABA DO MORRO VERMELHO E CONSELHO INDIGENISTA MISSIONARIO. Norte de Minas Gerais: Fazendeiro desrespeita Sentença da Justica Federal e invade territorio Xakriaba. Combate ao Racismo Ambiental, 05 mai. 2012. Disponivel em: Acesso em: 18 abr. 2013
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ContributorDiogo Rocha
Last update08/04/2014