The Kiriri people are located in the municipality of Banzaê, Bahia, which encompasses both the agreste [a narrow zone of sparse vegetation between the coastal forest (zona de mata)] and the northeastern sertão [the semi-arid interior]. It has a population of approximately 2,498 inhabitants in an area of around 12,320 hectares. This population is divided between the central portion of the Mirandela village and other communities. They all belong to the Kiriri territory and each has its own leaders (caciques [chiefs], pajés [shamans], and advisors) and its internal organization.
One of the conflicts that the Kiriri currently face, is with the Companhia de Eletricidade do Estado da Bahia (Coelba), the state electrical utility, because of a 69 kilometer transmission line between Ribeira do Pombal and Euclides da Cunha that passes through Kiriri land. A suit filed by the Public Prosecutor’s Office asserts that the 32 kilometers of the power line on their land causes innumerable socioeconomic and environmental damages to the Kiriri people. Restrictions on soil use are among the main environmental damages, whereas, in terms of cultural damage, a major issue is the constant interference caused by the entrance of strangers to maintain the electrical lines.
According to one of the elder leaders I spoke to, who has followed the process since 2001, Indigenous rights matter little to Coelba, which never honored its affirmations. Many meetings were held and preliminary deals made in the presence of the interested parties, but no agreements were fulfilled and no compensation was paid. To say nothing of the fact that many Indigenous people have damaged their credit ratings for refusing to pay for their energy consumption.
It is very sad that, after all these years, nothing has changed. How many lives have passed without realizing the dream of having our rights protected? Many elder leaders, who fought for the land, are today no longer with their people and never had the chance to see everything resolved. For the Kiriri, land is sacred. For a long time people have tried many ways to silence us, by retaking our lands, and sadly we lost relatives in the fight for the land. These were moments of profound sadness. However, we have not forgotten. Since childhood, we have learned from the elders the importance of land and how much our ancestors suffered by seeing our land massacred by non-Indigenous people. Nature is everything to us, because our survival depends on it. Today, even with so many things happening to threaten our rights, we feel happy because we can walk on our land, keeping our customs and traditions alive.
|Indigenous Lands impacted||Kiriri|
|Period of Violation||O procedimento administrativo que apurou o caso foi instaurado em 2001, após denúncia dos Kiriri sobre os prejuízos provocados pela linha de transmissão e pela rede de distribuição.|
|Type(s) of population|| Rural|
|Source(s) of information|| Site|
|Cause(s) of violation|| Land conflicts|
|Other causes||Transmissão de rede elétrica|
|Specific materials|| Electricity|
|Company(s) and government entity(s)||Companhia de Eletricidade da Bahia (Coelba)|
|Relevant government actors||The National Indian Foundation (Funai), the Federal Public Prosecutor's Office|
|Type(s) of financing|| National|
|O estado da mobilização diante da violação|| Medium (street protests, visible organising)|
|When did the organising start?||Desde o início das negociações, a comunidade resistiu como pôde. Acionou os órgãos e aliados para que as negociações ocorressem sem acarretar maiores perdas para a comunidade.|
|Group(s) that are organising|| Local government / political parties|
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
|Form(s) of organising||Muitos da comunidade se recusaram a serem cobrados pelo consumo de energia|
|Positive progress in the violation process||After the violation, the community began to follow more closely and circumspectly companies that showed an interest in the areas around the land.|
|Negative progress in the violation process||The fact that the violation continues, promotes insecurity in the community, both in relation to the agencies involved and to the efficacy of the judicial system.|
|Date form filled out||04/12/2019|