The Tupinamba were the first indigenous people to form a front against the Portuguese invasion in 1500 in Brazil. They are a great warrior people whose organizational structure uses tactics and strategies of war based on their worldview. In 2004, they started a process to recover their lands.
Tupinamba woman lays cacao seeds out in the sun in Sierra do Padeiro. They will be used to make chocolate. (Photo: Santiago Navarro F.)
Fighting a Low-Intensity War, Indigenous Tupinamba Recover Their Land in Brazil
By Santiago Navarro F., Renata Bessi and Translated by Miriam Taylor
The extreme south of the state of Bahia in northeastern Brazil is a region of intense conflict over indigenous lands. A judge asked Rosivaldo Ferreira da Silva, a leader from the indigenous Babau tribe, about the actions the Tupinamba are taking in order to recover their ancestral lands from the hands of rich landowners.
“You said that your Enchanted One – the spirit of the ancestors of the Tupinamba – ordered you to take back your lands and that you will not return them, even if that means you have to die in a confrontation with the police,” the judge said. Da Silva responded: “Exactly.”
The judge, trying to change the idea that he had proposed, said, “But we can propose something that can mediate this situation. We can offer a basket of basic goods to families, something that they can live off of.”