THE GUARANI YVYRUPA COMMISSION
Guaranì Mbya community
The Guarani Yvyrupa Commission (CGY) is an indigenous organization that brings together collectives of the Guarani people from the South and Southeast regions of Brazil in the struggle for territory. CGY has been relying on its own Guarani modes of organization, where the elders and leaders are listened to to define strategies for political action in the fight for rights. Currently, there are more than 600 lawsuits that dispute the permanence of communities on land in the regions covered by CGY.
The CGY based in the village of Tenondé Porã / SP, with an office in the central region of São Paulo, The struggle for territory, in addition to notification in legal processes, involves the continuity of our assemblies and grassroots articulation, as mobilizations to influence the institutions of the juridical government for the guarantee and maintenance of our rights, in addition to strengthening the organization of women guarani, a formation of young indigenous leaders and communicators and the strengthening of the xeramoῖ and xejaryi (the elders who guide life in this world).
RESISTANCE AND CONSERVATION WORK:
The Guaranì have been dispossessed by the Portuguese colonizers of their ancestral lands. Before colonization the Guaranì used to have communal, collective decision-making, but the Portuguese forced the rule of the chief to control them. A group of young Guaranì leaders gradually re-introduced their traditional participatory and communal system, injecting new political energy in the community as they saw that their voices mattered.
They’re connected with their spirituality and rituals, gathering faith and grounding themselves in their identity. They created a Guaranì institution, the YvYrupa commission, linking the different village assemblies for coordination and mobilization. They created networks of allies and contacts, made studies proving their ancestral claims and eventually mobilized all the Southern Guaranì to peacefully occupy the central avenue of Sao Paolo and the state government building, resisting police brutality and intimidation, until the government backed down and granted their land back.
During this time their lands had been turned into eucalyptus monocultures, which had severely degraded the soil and water. The Guaranì took out the plantation and teamed up with agroecologists from Sao Paulo, combining their traditional knowledge and agriculture with their ecological research. They re-introduced native bees and traditional seeds and used soil-restoration techniques. They replanted a part of the Atlantic forest with a diversity of local species. They applied treatment with plant-based fertilizers and created an agro-forest, which preserved the ecosystem and biodiversity by cultivating a wide variety of plants and foods on ground, bush and tree level, where the interactions between the plants and animals nourish, fertilize and support each other. In doing so they purified the air, water sources and soil, while also producing nutritious food for them.
This shows how land rights are fundamental to conservation and how human activity is compatible with it.
A young local leader, Tiago Karai, told us how their philosophy creates this relationship with the land – he explained how this land does not belong to them. It is them who belong to it, as much as all the animals and plants they share it with. That is why they work so hard to make it thrive. They seek to live on a beautiful land, but never to own it, never to be its lords, never to dominate it and exploit it. They want to enrich it for all living beings, including us and future life to flourish on it. Tiago critiques the western underlying assumptions of hierarchy among beings: in Yvyrupa, everything is connected and relying on everything else, so it doesn’t make sense to have something superior. The human needs the insect to fertilize the soil so they can eat. How can they be superior to insects if they wouldn’t live a year without them.
For them all beings are connected and equal, like brothers and sisters. It is fundamental to treat every being, all humans, animals, plants, insects, even stones with respect, dignity and care. It is essential for us to learn from these perspectives so that we understand that also in Europe and in cities we can live on the land in a way that respects it and protects it.
Uera Tchondaro – a young Guaraní leader in the Jaraguá indigenous territory talks about the terrible psychological and social consequences for his community when loosing land.
Here you can find more information about the Cinturao Verde campaign which shows some of the environmental work that The Guarani Yvyrupa Commission (CGY) have done (Portuguese): http://cinturaoverdeguarani.info/
How can you support he Guarani Yvyrupa Commission?
As with all our partners, we are trying to support The Guarani Yvyrupa Commission with raising funds for specific projects and aspects of their ongoing work. If you would like to contribute below you will find a chuffed page where you can donate directly to The Guarani Yvyrupa Commission and more information on what The Guarani Yvyrupa Commission will use the funding towards.
What is the Guarani Yvyrupa Commission going to do with the money raised:
Part of the funds raised will be used for protecting the community from coronavirus: Providing food, hygiene material, and local infrastructure that allows infected people to recover while remaining apart from the others is the best way to fight the virus among our communities. The food reserves will be used for community members to be able to self-isolate without continuing their economic activities which would put them at risk of infection.
The rest of the funding will be used to cover the operational costs of CGY: arranging travel and large meetings of communities, community leaders, representatives, women only meetings and youth meetings. Paying salaries for operational staff, lawyers and communication staff, paying rent, training indigenous agroecologists, environmental regeneration projects based on agro-ecology and Guaranì traditional agriculture.
FOLLOW AND LEARN MORE ABOUT CGY