The justices of Brazil’s Supreme Court voted 9-2 last week against a legal framework that would have made it impossible for Indigenous tribal leaders to reclaim traditional land and that would have eased the way for more mining, agriculture, and other extractive industries on that land.
The ruling sets a precedent for hundreds of acres of Indigenous land claims and is expected to have a widespread impact on Indigenous land rights.
The legal thesis at the heart of the case, known as marco temporal, had been moving through the courts since 2007 and was overwhelmingly endorsed in the nation’s conservative-dominated lower congressional house.
It involved a legal interpretation of Brazil’s 1988 constitution, which gives Indigenous peoples the right to claim lands they “traditionally occupied.” Since the adoption of the constitution in 1988, more than 700 Indigenous territories have been claimed. To date, 496 have been officially recognized, or demarcated, by the government, which defines property boundaries and guarantees ... Read more