Bolsonaro decree could spell ‘the end of indigenous land demarcations’

The Bolsonaro government issued a decree this week drastically altering the statute of indigenous foundation Funai, the agency responsible for handling indigenous land claims. The changes have taken indigenous rights organizations and agency staffers by surprise.

indigenous lands bolsonaro decree
President Jair Bolsonaro during a meeting with indigenous leaders in Brasília. Photo: Alan Santos/PR

During his campaign ahead of the 2018 election, then-congressional backbencher Jair Bolsonaro promised that, under his watch as president, there would not be a “single centimeter” of land demarcated for the country’s indigenous communities.

In his view, these ancestral territories should instead be used to create wealth, a belief that goes hand in hand with his calls to legalize wildcat gold mining and his government’s dismantling of environmental oversight frameworks. 

In this regard, Brazil’s far-right president stuck to his word, with zero new indigenous land demarcations made since the beginning of his term.

And now, with Mr. Bolsonaro’s first term...

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