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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
Name of conflict:Xakriaba territorial struggle, Brazil
State or province:Minas Gerais
Location of conflict:Manga, 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:Plantation conflicts (incl. Pulp
Land acquisition conflicts
Dams and water distribution conflicts
Specific commodities:Electricity
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Project area:59000
Type of populationRural
Start of the conflict:1970
Company names or state enterprises:Fundacao Rural Mineira (Ruralminas) from Brazil
Relevant government actors:Fundacao Nacional do Indio - FUNAI, Fundacao Nacional de Saude - FUNASA, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais - UFMG, Secretaria Especial de Saúde Indígena - SESAI
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Comissao 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
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups mobilizing:Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Religious groups
Forms of mobilization:Development 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
Other Environmental impactsOn 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-economical 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
Conflict outcome / response:Deaths, Assassinations, Murders
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 alternatives:Improved health and education services, land demarcation.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:A significant part of the former Xakriaba territory remains in possession of farmers.
Sources & Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

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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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.

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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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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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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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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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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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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Contributor:Diogo Rocha
Last update18/08/2019
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