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Brazil’s Indian Agency Approves Return of 146,000 hectares to Xavante People

In December, Brazil’s Indian Agency (Fundação Nacional do Índio) approved delimitation of the 146,000 hectare Wedezé Indigenous Reserve in the state of Mato Grosso. Occupied by the Xavante people since the mid-1800s, the area was illegally sold to private interests in the 1950s and to accommodate its new owners the Indigenous residents were resettled elsewhere in the 1970s. The reserve includes the site of the historical village São Domingos, where Cultural Survival’s founder David Maybury-Lewis did ethnographic research in the 1950s. After being approved by the Indian Agency, the reserve is subject to a 90-day period of contestation before final consideration by the Justice Department.