Foto Tukumã Pataxó | Apib

The trial for the Time Frame Thesis scheduled for September 20th in the Supreme Federal Court could determine the future of Indigenous Lands in Brazilian territory and mark a turning point for the global climate. The Indigenous movement is mobilizing throughout Brazil and is sending an Indigenous commission from Apib to New York for the Climate Week. The goal is to strengthen international mobilization in defense of the right to Indigenous Lands.

  • The threat to Indigenous Lands is a climate threat to all of humanity.

We are of the Earth, and the Earth is within us. If the Earth dies, we -as Indigenous peoples- die.

The Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (Apib) is calling for various mobilizations across Brazil this week and is participating in the New York Climate Week to raise awareness about the risks posed by the upcoming vote on the Time Frame Thesis (Marco Temporal), which is scheduled on September 20th. The Supreme Court of Brazil will vote on the legitimacy of a legal thesis promoted by the Brazilian agribusiness sector, which proposes to review the demarcation process of Indigenous lands, and this could directly impact the global climate crisis.

The Time Frame Thesis proposes that only Indigenous peoples who can prove they were living on their lands in 1988, the same year the Federal Constitution was promulgated, can have rights to those lands. This denies the forced evictions of hundreds of communities that could only begin to claim their ancestral lands after Brazil’s redemocratization in the late 1980s.

This week marks the 15th edition of Climate Week in New York, from September 17th to 24th, and the 78th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, from September 19th to 23rd, which will open with the speech by President Lula. In light of these events, a group of 10 Indigenous leaders is in New York to participate in activities during Climate Week. The goal is to internationally alert about the threat that the Time Frame Thesis represents to the lives of Brazil’s Indigenous peoples and to the global climate crisis, as Indigenous Lands serve as a life reserve for the entire planet.

Apib and its regional organizations are strengthening mobilizations in Indigenous territories, cities, and especially in the capital, Brasilia, against the approval of the Marco Temporal thesis, which will be voted on September 20th. The proposal is to closely follow the trial and strengthen the next steps in the Indigenous movement’s struggle. Apib organized over 220 demonstrations in 21 states, including the Federal District, in May and June.

There are still five Supreme Federal Court justices left to vote in the trial. So far, there are four votes against the Time Frame Thesis and two in favor. Justices Edson Fachin, Alexandre de Moraes, Cristiano Zanin, and Luís Roberto Barroso have expressed opposition to the ruralist thesis. The only votes in favor of the anti-Indigenous proposal come from justices appointed by former President Jair Bolsonaro, André Mendonça and Nunes Marques.

On the same day as the Supreme Court vote, the Brazilian Senate is attempting to include in its agenda the project to turn the Time Frame Thesis into law. Ruralist senators seek to create a conflict and confrontation with the Brazilian judiciary in case the Supreme Court annuls the Time Frame Thesis.

In addition to the Time Frame Thesis, another proposal (PL 2903) is currently under consideration, which proposes further setbacks in the rights of Indigenous peoples, such as the construction of roads and hydroelectric plants in Indigenous territories without free, prior, and informed consent of the affected communities. The proposal also aims to allow farmers to sign production contracts with Indigenous people, violating the rights of Indigenous peoples to the exclusive use of demarcated lands.

While some falsely claim that “there is plenty of land for few Indigenous people in Brazil,” Apib argues the opposite, stating that there is plenty of land for few large landowners, and that agribusiness promotes the illegal invasion of Indigenous lands. The organization asserts, “there is no solution to the climate crisis without guaranteeing the rights of Indigenous peoples and the demarcation of their territories.”

Currently, nearly half of Brazil’s land is in the hands of rural producers. According to data published in Brazilian Diario Oficial da União, 41% of the total land in the country is rural properties, 13.7% is Indigenous lands, and 45.2% is designated for other purposes. Indigenous Lands represent a guarantee of life for Indigenous peoples and for all of humanity that depends on the future climate.

The Time Frame Thesis is a modern colonization strategy. “The future of Brazil’s Indigenous peoples is in grave danger, which can affect all of humanity, as it has been shown that Indigenous peoples, thanks to our ways of life, are guardians of nature and, therefore, of the global climate balance,” says Apib’s executive coordinator, Dinamam Tuxá. While 29% of the surrounding territory of Indigenous Lands is deforested, the deforestation rate within Indigenous Territories is only 2%, according to data collected in September 2022 by Apib and the Amazon Environmental Research Institute (IPAM). According to this study, most of the degradation is the result of illegal actions funded by agribusiness sectors, such as soybean plantations and extensive livestock farming. Similarly, scientists emphasize the importance of Indigenous Territories, where biodiversity is considerably higher than in the rest of the national territory.

Currently, the Supreme Federal Court is adjudicating a proposal that seeks to change the demarcation process of Indigenous Territories in Brazil through the Time Frame Thesis. At the same time, the National Congress is trying to turn the Time Frame Thesis into law and legalize crimes that promote Indigenous genocide and environmental destruction. But who is financing this threatening scenario? National and foreign companies such as Bunge, Xp, Kinea, Bradesco, Ducoco, Groupe Lactalis, among others, as well as international banks and investment funds, contribute to Brazilian agribusiness, which would be the main beneficiary if the Marco Temporal were approved, as recent reports from De Olho nos Ruralistas show.

A few farmers and entrepreneurs benefit from the profit of agribusiness at the expense of the lives of Indigenous peoples and the global climate balance. Illegal land invasions, assassinations of leaders and activists, and violence resulting from land disputes have increased in recent years. Allowing the occupation of Indigenous lands for the enrichment of a few is a modern form of colonization in which settlers seek to take over more and more hectares of national territory.

The Time Frame proposal exists as a consequence of the economic and political power of agribusiness. If approved, crimes will increase, and agricultural and natural resource extraction will intensify. The first to pay this bill will be Indigenous peoples. “Those responsible for continuing Indigenous genocide and worsening the climate crisis will be marked in history. Many will be accomplices of the new colonialism that threatens the survival of us, Indigenous peoples who inhabit the vast territory called Brazil, and the future of all humanity, because there is no solution to the climate crisis without the participation of Indigenous peoples,” emphasizes Dinamam Tuxá.

Relevant activities of Apib during the 15th edition of Climate Week from September 17th to 24th:

Apib participated on September 17th in the Climate Week March on the streets of New York in support of the Fight Fossil Fuel Strike. The indigenous delegation of Apib denounced the threat posed by the Time Frame Thesis, and they emphasized the indigenous emergency situation regarding extractive industries and agribusiness that cause multiple instances of violence in our territories. In addition, among the activities that make up the Climate Week agenda, it is worth noting that the executive coordinators Kleber Karipuna, Dinamam Tuxá, and other members of the indigenous delegation will participate on Tuesday 19th, in the talk “FCLP: Rights, Participation and Benefits for Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities in Forest Climate Financing” organized by the Forest and Climate Leaders Partnership organizations. On September 22nd, a portion of the delegation will be present at the dialogue co-organized with H.E. Razan Al Mubarak, the current president of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, to assess progress in the COP28 agenda with the aim of collectively identifying meaningful and respectful ways of involving Indigenous Peoples in the COP.

  • Please see photos and videos of the March and other events on the Climate Week agenda where the Apib delegation was present:

Apib Audiovisual Material – 15th edition of Climate Week in New York

About Apib

The Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (Apib) is a national reference body of the indigenous movement in Brazil, created from the bottom up. It brings together seven regional indigenous organizations (Apoinme, ArpinSudeste, ArpinSul, Aty Guasu, Terena Council, Coaib, and Guarani Yvyrupa Commission) and was born with the purpose of strengthening the unity of our peoples, fostering coordination among different regions and indigenous organizations in the country, as well as mobilizing indigenous peoples and organizations against threats and violations of indigenous rights.

Learn more about the Time Frame Thesis: 

For more information and to schedule interviews, you can contact the Apib press service:

[email protected]

Communication management – Samela Sateré Mawé – +55 (92) 98285 5077

International communication service –  +55 (65) 99686 6289 / +55 (21) 96665 5518 / +55 (92) 99430-3762