Created in 1988 as an environmental preservation unit, the Metropolitan State Forest, in Piraquara (PR), had its space occupied by indigenous leaders on August 9, the date that marks the international day of the Indigenous Peoples. The region has already been the scene of land disputes in the past, involving selective exploitation of the araucaria forest and clear cutting for agricultural activities, and has already belonged to the extinct Federal Railroad Network, a state-owned railway company.
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In recent years, the forest has suffered from the abandonment of public authorities, and now, indigenous peoples are once again claiming the space, from which, in the past, they were expelled, in the 19th century, by Dom João VI, to guarantee free access to the Port of Paranaguá , leading communities to spread out into the interior.
The forest is located in the metropolitan region of Curitiba, covering approximately 225 square kilometers. The park has been degraded for years due to agriculture and cattle raising and reforestation with eucalyptus, a plant that can lead to soil impoverishment.
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For one of the leaders of the occupation, Eloy Jacyntho, the retaking of the park is the return to a sacred space for the original peoples, which will be recovered. ”This forest has been taken over by eucalyptus and abandoned for several years, and this is an indigenous territory, a sacred place. That’s why we’re here. We intend to stay and recover the area”, he highlights.
For years the Kaingang and Guarani ethnic groups have claimed the area, today, under the responsibility of the Environmental Institute of Paraná. Chief Kretã Kaingang points out that the last time the state received indigenous representatives was during the government of Roberto Requião. “Since 2009 we have been fighting and claiming a space inside Piraquara, because there are three archaeological sites of the Kaingang people there, including underground houses in the region. Our fight is to maintain these structures, which marked the passage of the Kaingang in this capital”, he says.
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He also says that the government of Paraná is interested in privatizing the area, which suffers from fires and lack of land tenure regularization. ”This is an area of the state abandoned by past governments. The current government, Ratinho Jr, has no purpose other than to privatize the area for tourism, seeking electoral and financial gain. This region has no regularization, we occupied and want to recover this area with reforestation, with native plants”, says Kretã.
The government of Paraná has not yet commented on whether it intends to privatize the area, but it may follow the example of the federal government. In 2020, Jair Bolsonaro placed three national forests in a privatization program, with the supposed objective of ”sustainable development of the areas”, however, with the liberation of logging. The forests of Humaitá, Iquiri and Castanho, all in Amazonas, entered the PPI (Investment Partnership Program), which deals with concessions and privatizations.
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Isabel Tukano, from the Tukano people, who participates in the resumption, still complains that there is a lack of public policies for the native peoples. ”On this 9th, the truth is that we have nothing to celebrate, the best way we try to remember this date is to recover our space, so that our rights don’t go back. Indigenous territories are being invaded without listening to us. This occupation celebrates life, it is the retaking of a historic area for us”.
The report of Brazil in fact PR contacted the IAP and the government of Paraná to find out more information about the area, but as of this writing, there has been no response.
Source: BoF Paraná
Edition: Frédi Vasconcelos