Tuesday, September 29, 2009


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Monday, September 28, 2009


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Sunday, September 27, 2009

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Interior Hallway in Olinda Posada

Large Doll in Olinda Posada

Front Desk in Olinda Posada

Saturday, September 26, 2009

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September 26, 2009 - Continuation of Attempted Assassination

When Marcos arrived as the home of the Indian helping him, he took off his clothes to look for any other injuries. While he had cuts from barbed wire, He had not been shot. His ear was torn and bleeding a lot, and he had other deep cuts on his face from falling and from barbed wire fences. He was taken to the local hospital in Pesqueira where his deeper cuts were stitched and bandaged. He was given sedation and taken to his mother’s house on Indian land. According to Marcos, he slept for at least eight to ten hours.

During the time Marcos slept, the indigenous community reacted out of anger and fear. They had lost five individuals (leaders, a lawyer, and Xicao Xukuru in 1998), and from their perspective they could not restrain their emotions. While Xicao (Marcos' father) and Marcos were both caciques (chiefs), they spoke of non-violent social activism and encouraged peaceful practices during their ratonada (regaining their land by occupying it (camping on the land) and refusing to leave. The assassination of Xicao occurred during this time. Such land occupations are dangerous for indigenous peoples, who often have waited for several years (actually since the 1988 constitution) to have their lands returned.

While Marcos was at his mother's house sleeping, the indigenous community revolted by setting fire to the house of an indigenous leader who had historically sided with non-indigenous landed elites (apparently he was paid for his collaborations), and according to indigenous leaders participated in the attempted assassination of Marcos. In addition, they burned his car/s and other personal property, ending by running him (his name is Bio) off indigenous land. He currently lives in the city of Pesqueira, and maintains relations with political leaders and local businessmen, who want to build a religious tourism site on a sacred land where Xicao Xukuru (the previous leader who was assassinated)was interned (the Xukuru say they "plant" their dead). A majority of the leaders, according to Cacique Marcus Xukuru, do not want such a site to be built, which would consist of a multi-storied hotel and "cultural center" that would demonstrate indigenous religious practices.

The Federal Police (FP) arrived on the scene of the murders (of the two young Xukuru men accompanying Marcos), and the scene of the revolt that resulted in the burning of Bio's house and property. The FP focused attenion on the riot, and deemed the two murders of the Xukuru youth to be an internal dispute, and not an attempted assassination of Cacique Marcus Xukuru. Due to the FP investigation, Cacique Marcos Xukuru was found guilty of inciting the riot, and existing evidence of his alibi (staying with his mother in a sedated state and with evidence of the medical care he received at the hospital)was ignored. A pre-trial hearing determined he was guilty and a suggested sentence of 10 years and 4 months was determined.

He is currently not imprisoned, but is awaiting a repeal of the suggested sentence, and a trial by jury in the near future. Law student, Joseph Mandala will be adding his legal opinions, ideas, thoughts, and suggestions. I would appreciate questions from readers, especially my students in the Department of Anthropology at the University of North Dakota. This blog is intended to assist in the dissemination of information regarding the Xukuru and other indigenous peoples and explore ways in which international human rights documents can be applied to assist them in their struggles for basic dignity and respect. Students ideas, questions, opinions (as long as they are respectful) are welcomed, and such input will assist me in thinking about how to work with social action research here in Pernambuco.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

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I hoped to be posting by September 16th, but that was too ambitious. Here’s a summary of events that have occurred since we arrived on September 17th. Law student, Joseph Mandala and I flew into Recife on the morning of September 17th and were taken to our hotel. We were able to rest for about an hour before we went to scheduled meetings with CIMI, an NGO (non-governmental organization) working with indigenous peoples human rights. A meeting was arranged with Sandro, one of the lawyers working on the case of Cacique Marcos Xukuru (Chief Marcos Xukuru). Joseph and I were able to spend approximately three hours with Sandro, talking and video-taping important parts of our conversation about the history of the case against Marcos. I will leave a more detailed report to Joseph, who will post his summary on this blog in a few days.
Briefly, Cacique Marcos has been charged with initiating a riot on Xukuru Indian land after the attempted assassination on his life. In essence, the victim became the perpetrator. Here’s how I understand the story to date: In February of 2003, the Cacique was returning from a meeting with the council of leaders on Xukuru land. He was driving a truck, with an open back for carrying heavy loads of construction material. At a point in the road, he was forced to stop his car because a herd of cows were crossing the road. In the car with the Cacique were two young men around the ages of 20-22 years of age, and his cousin, who was 11 ½ at the time. Sitting on the side of the road were two men, doing nothing, just sitting. The Cacique got out of the car and asked what was happening, and the men didn’t respond. Then, a man appeared in the road from the bush (the land is hilly and filled with densely packed bushes, trees, and a variety of local plants. This male came toward the Cacique, who asked what was going on, since the cows were not being encouraged to cross the road. The man didn’t answer. The Cacique asked again, and the man didn’t answer for a second time. When the Cacique asked again, the man pulled a gun from his pocket and said “prepare to die” , and then shot at the Cacique, who saw the gun coming out of his pocket. The Cacique reacted quickly, and fell to the ground and rolled toward his truck, where he managed to get underneath it. The two young men in the car reacted by getting out of the car. One of them grabbed the man with the gun, and the other approached the men sitting by the road for help. One of the men had a wooden club, and the young man was hit in the head with it, and fell to the ground unconscious. The Cacique managed to crawl from under the truck and throw himself into the barbed wire and crawl through it. He sustained injuries to his face, and cuts to his ear¸ and was bleeding heavily. He got to his feet and ran through the bush, crashing into thorns and falling into holes in the ground. A man (Indian) saw Cacique Marcos running and that he was injured, and proceeded to help him by taking him to his house, where he was examined to see if he had been shot.
More later – the taxi is here to take us to a meeting at CIMI

Monday, September 7, 2009

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Marcia Mikulak

Marcia Mikulak
Associate Professor 
Anthropology Department 
University of North Dakota 
Grand Forks, ND 58202-8374 
701-777-0718 Office 
701-330-1311 Cell 

WDAZ TV Xukuru Research Synopsis