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.