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Indian Communities
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In 1982, before the formation of Itaipu Lake, 13 Indian families were located and registered with a total of 71 people who made up the Jacutinga Community of Indians of the “Avá” tribe from the Guarani Nation on an area with 30 hectares. These families were transferred to the recently created Ocoy Indian Reservation with a total area of 250 hectares, receiving technical and financial support from Itaipu.

Due to the plant and migratory growth of the Ocoy population, the area became insufficient for the survival of the community. In 1997 when the number of families had grown to 74, Itaipu purchased 1,744 hectares in the city of Diamante do Oeste and 32 families were transferred to there. This Indian settlement was called Tekohá Añetete, considered by anthropological reports and by the Indians themselves as ideal for settling. The Ocoy Reservation stayed with 42 families and ended up with a very comfortable and sustainable situation.

Due to a request from Funai, Itaipu together with the city of Diamante do Oeste, implemented a new action of technical and financial support to help the settlement become consolidated.

Migrations are part of the Avá-Guarani culture. These Indians migrate frequently, but they always return to their locations of origin. The cultural base is established in the concept of “nuclear families”, units of production and consumption, evolving into “extended families”. This contributed to the return of those families that during the 60s and 70s had migrated to Paraguay. Their return resulted in the overpopulation of the Ocoy reservation, which jumped from 42 to 128 families (around 600 people) in an area insufficient to meet the needs of the incoming group. The Ocoy Indian Settlement once again was faced with the problem of little land and too many people.

After much interaction with the Indians and negotiations between Itaipu and Funai (National Indian Foundation), this entity purchased for them an area of 242 hectares next to the Tekohá Añetete Settlement. The area was incorporated in February 2007 for the formation of a new Indian Settlement named Itamarã, which in Guarani means “diamond” (alluding to the city of Diamante do Oeste that hosts the community). In the BP3 region, therefore, there are 3 settlements (tekohas): Ocoy with 250 hectares, Añetete with 1,744 hectares, and Itamarã with 242 hectares, which totals 2,236 hectares for 205 families and 1,100 people.
 
New Stage

With the incorporation of social and environmental responsibility in Itaipu’s mission, in 2003 there was implemented within Cultivating Good Water, the Sustainability of the Indian Communities project. Its objectives are to improve the infrastructure of the settlements, strengthen autonomy and the sentiment of ethnical and cultural identity, and contribute to the value of its traditions. The following goals were defined for this project:

Goals

- Improve the infrastructure: build roads, a craft Center, improve nutrition in the Ocoy settlement, prayer houses and housing, bringing electricity, water, and sanitation, always according to the models approved by the Indians.
- Strengthen cultural diversity: craft courses, basket weaving, clay work, woodworking, value of music and dance.
- Support for the expansion or opening of farming areas, preparation of the soil for planting and encouraging agricultural production and animal husbandry by organic system.
- Supply materials, animals, seedlings, and seeds.
- Encourage the formation of partnerships among the Indian communities and economic agents such as co-ops, especially for selling the excess production and crafts.
- Support fish farming in tank-nets.
- Provide food supplement when needed.

Steering Committee

This project has been spearheaded by a Steering Committee made up of representatives from the Indian communities, city administrations of São Miguel do Iguaçu and Diamante do Oeste, and partners. The execution of the actions is generally carried out by agreements between the actors involved.

All the targets referred to above are followed by various partners that make up the committee: Federal Public Ministry, FUNAI (National Indian Foundation), FUNASA (National Health Foundation), IAP (Environmental Institute of Paraná), IBAMA (Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources), City Administrations of São Miguel do Iguaçu and Diamante D’Oeste, Lar Agro-Industrial Co-op, Foz do Iguaçu Diocese, Pastoral of the Child, Ñandeva Tri-Nation Craft Center, and obviously the Indian communities themselves.

Results

The results covered various branches of activities: from production to leisure and from education to religiosity. Some highlights are the implementation of commercial-scale craft making improved by courses and building of appropriate locations, strengthening the animal husbandry activity, treatment of disease and vaccination, building of houses, and installation of tank-nets for fish farming.

These actions are contributing in a decisive way to improve the level of health and education of the Indians, especially through the monthly care given to children ages 0 to 6 years old through the Child Nutrition Program, which resulted in a zero index of child mortality and children in risk of malnutrition. Most of them are included in the Federal Government’s social programs such as Zero Hunger.

Food and nutritional safety of the families has been prioritized by Itaipu’s technical incentive and support in producing grains and milk and in fisheries. Itaipu donates seeds and machinery for direct and community planting, as well as supports processing the production. At the Tekoha Añetete settlement, for example, the Indians themselves produce and distribute 2,800 liters of milk every month. The production is mostly for family consumption focused on child nutrition.

The issue of Indian health on the tri-border region between Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina is another flank of the action that the project is opening. This is why the Health Work Group on the Border was created to design joint and coordinated actions in the three countries (Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina).

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