Opinion – Walter Casagrande Jr.: An indigenous country needs indigenous people in power


This Sunday (2), we will leave the house to vote.

That’s right: it is the most important election, but also the most dangerous and –possibly– the most violent in the history of our Brazil.

Let’s vote against guns in the streets, against racism, homophobia, machismo, the violence that victimizes women, against all the bad issues that we have in our society, but that have been accentuated with this cowardly mismanagement.

We need to think about our future, the future of our children, grandchildren and everyone who will inhabit this planet.

We need to vote against deforestation in the Amazon, for the protection of indigenous peoples, against illegal timber trafficking, as well as against unfair and predatory mining.

In this text I want to present the importance of having representatives of the native peoples outlining fundamental policies for our states and also for our country.

Célia Xakriabá may be the first indigenous federal deputy from the state of Minas Gerais to compose the headdress bench.

The time has come to talk about a topic that is delayed by at least 500 years. As Célia, who is an indigenous leader from Minas, says, before Brazil of the Crown, we have Brazil of Cocar.

Guiding the rights of indigenous peoples, their tireless defense of the environment and the candidacies placed in this election are the number one theme in these elections for the legislature.

It was the indigenous peoples who, on many occasions, took the lead in the fight against the current government, against the destruction of our forests. It was they who fought to prevent further devastation. And now we are on the eve of an election in which we have a record of indigenous candidacies vying for this election.

For me, this demonstrates not only the strength of these leaders who put themselves as candidates, but also the urgency of talking about the absence of these peoples in Brazilian politics. In the politics of a country that is indigenous.

And even more important is to realize that the majority of these candidacies are from women. Célia Xakriabá, candidate for state deputy for the PSOL in Minas Gerais, always talks about “womanizing” politics, fighting mining with “women”. She always emphasizes that the headdress bench was an initiative of indigenous women at the last Free Land Camp, in April this year.

Célia’s candidacy, as well as that of Sônia Guajajara, Joênia Wapichana, Shirley Krenac and so many others who are or were candidates for elective positions is hope that it will still be possible to preserve what remains of our humanity. They speak of racism of absence and I speak now of a commitment to the planet and to the historical reparation of indigenous peoples.

It is, yes, about representation, but more than that: about electing committed, prepared candidates who never had the choice to withdraw from the fight.

These are the choices of our lives. Célia Xakriabá reminds us that there are still five minutes left to save the planet, but that there is still time. And there will only be time if we all make an effort to elect these candidates and fulfill the dream of the headdress bench.

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