“The death of Bruno was the last straw”, say Funai employees at a national strike

Marcela Leiros and Bruno Pacheco – From Cenarium Magazine

BRASILIA AND MANAUS – Workers of the National Indian Foundation (FUNAI) and indigenous leaders held on Thursday, 23, a national strike demanding the strengthening of the body, the resignation of President Marcelo Xavier, as well as justice for the deaths of the licensed employee of the institution Bruno da Cunha Araújo Pereira and british journalist Dominic Mark Phillips, “Dom Phillips”.

In front of the headquarters of Funai, in Brasilia, employees of the foundation questioned the policy of insecurity and persecution promoted by the current management of the agency to the employees who work closely with indigenous peoples. Protests occurred in other regions of Brazil, such as Manaus (AM).

Funai employees and indigenous people unite for more safety in the work camp (Marcela Leiros/Cenarium)

“The movement, in fact, was the explosion of a series of feelings that we have been having for some time, more accentuated in the last three years, of limitations to our work, persecution and moral harassment. Bruno’s death was the last straw. He was one of us, it could be any one of us there [in Vale do Javari, where the death occurred], because the lack of conditions is the same”, said an anthropologist, a Funai employee who preferred not to be identified.

Read also: ‘The entire board of directors of Univaja is marked with the brand of Bruno and Dom’, says, in the Senate, the coordinator of the organization

Servers and indigenous people gathered in front of the headquarters of Funai, in Brasília (Marcela Leiros/ Revista Cenarium)

The strike was called by the Confederation of Workers in the Federal Public Service (Condsef), the National Federation of Workers in the Federal Public Service and the National Association of Funai Servers (Ansef).

Indigenous people support Funai employees in Brasilia (Marcela Leiros/Revista Cenarium)

“Initially, we tried to contact the president of Funai, he sent a commission to talk to us. We presented three emergency demands, and we left [the meeting] without any response”, said another employee, who also preferred not to be identified to avoid reprisals.

The crowd asked for justice for the deaths of Dom Phillips and Bruno Araújo. (Marcela Leiros/Cenarium Magazine)

Funai Dossier

A dossier organized by Indigenistas Associados – Associação de Servidores da Funai (INA) and Instituto de Estudos Socioeconômicos (Inesc), the result of three years of joint monitoring, with data from 2019, showed that under the Bolsonaro government, Funai implements an “anti-indigenist” policy.

Read also: EDITORIAL – The dictatorship of drug trafficking in the Amazon, by Paula Litaiff

In nine chapters, we discuss how FUNAI has been working against the very reason for its existence, which is to protect and promote indigenous rights; the general profile of the management of the agency, called the “New Funai”; and regulations proposed by the “New Funai” that facilitate to the possession and economic exploitation of indigenous lands.

Check out the dossier in full:

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Protest in Manaus

In Manaus, servers participate in the national strike of the body for improvements in working conditions and justice in the case of journalist and indigenist. The mobilization was organized by the Union of Federal Public Servants in Amazonas (Sindsep-AM) and began around 9am, in the capital of Amazonas, with a meeting behind closed doors and without the participation of the press.

In Manaus, protests were held mainly by union members (Ricardo Oliveira/Revista Cenarium)

Then, the group stretched a banner in front of the headquarters of Funai, located on Avenida Maceió, Nossa Senhora das Graças, also calling for the resignation of the current president of the institution, Federal Police Commissioner Marcelo Xavier.

According to the legal secretary of Sindsep-AM, Geralda de Souza Oliveira, the act will also include lectures and rounds of talks throughout the day, as well as meetings with public universities to address the human and labor rights of servers and the fight for a career plan.

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