Deputy Joenia Wapichana will lead Funai

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Deputy Joenia Wapichana will lead Funai

Federal deputy Joenia Wapichana (Rede-RR) will be the next president of Funai (National Indian Foundation). She met with president-elect Lula this Friday afternoon (30) and accepted the invitation.

It has not yet been decided which ministry Funai will be linked to. The body is historically linked to the Ministry of Justice, but the group responsible for the issue during the transition pleads that the foundation pass to the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples, which will be occupied by the elected federal deputy Sonia Guajajara (PSOL).

According to Wapichana, the decision will be taken after Lula takes office, on January 1st. She will be the first indigenous leader to occupy the position of President of Funai.

“It has many priorities because Funai was dismantled a lot, scrapped, there was a lot of lack of investment, mainly related to the non-demarcation and invasion of indigenous lands, which increased a lot, and violence, which increased,” said Wapichana.

Until the 2022 elections, she was the only indigenous woman elected in Congress, and only the second indigenous representation in the history of the Brazilian Parliament. The first was 40 years ago, with the election of Xavante Mário Juruna (1943-2002), elected by the state of Rio de Janeiro in the PDT.

This Friday, Joenia was accompanied by several indigenous leaders, including Cacique Raoni, historical leader of the Brazilian indigenous peoples.

Raoni stated that he asked Lula to make indications of indigenous people to the federal government’s indigenist bodies. As an example, he cited the Ministry of Health’s Sesai (Secretary of Indigenous Health).

In an interview with SheetGuajajara stated that the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples will start with around 140 civil servants and will have three secretariats, one for territorial promotion, one for management and another for institutional articulation.

Wapichana was Lula’s choice. She was also quoted to take over the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples, which ended with Sonia Guajajara also by decision of the graduated president, as anticipated by Sheet.

The structure even caused noise within the indigenous movement. Publicly, leaders criticized the choice and argued that Wapichana, who will leave the Chamber of Deputies this year, should be minister and Guajajara, who was elected federal deputy, remain in the Legislative.

Guajajara said he understood the reaction as normal.

Days before Guajajara was chosen, Wapichana had meetings with PT members, including President Gleisi Hoffmann, and still believed he had a chance of assuming the portfolio.

But this Thursday (29), the day of Lula’s official announcement, the two attended the event together.
The indigenous movement had also been, internally, articulating other names for the head of Funai — and now these leaders should end up taking up positions within the ministry or at the foundation.

This week, the president chosen by Bolsonaro for Funai, Marcelo Xavier, was exonerated.
In office since 2019, he was pivotal in the departure of indigenist Bruno Pereira from the body.

Pereira and British journalist Dom Phillips, who was on a trip to write a book, were murdered in the Javari Valley in June of this year. Bruno and the indigenous people of the region were tracking ongoing crimes in the protected lands of the valley and had received death threats.

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