Electoral Justice creates polling station in the Yanomami Indigenous Area

Considered one of the most isolated ethnic groups in the world, the Yanomami indigenous people who live in Roraima will, for the first time in history, have the opportunity to vote inside their own community.

Considered one of the most isolated ethnic groups in the world, the Yanomami indigenous people who live in Roraima will, for the first time in history, have the opportunity to vote inside their own community. On March 27, the judge of the 3rd Electoral Area of Roraima Erasmus Hallysson Souza Campos ordered the installation of a polling station in the Yanomami Indigenous Land, in the Lower Mucajaí Region (municipality of Alto Alegre), where there are many Yanomami who have integrated into society. The polling station will work in the clinic the health center located inside the Special Secretariat for Indigenous Health (SESAI), in the Sikamabiu Community.

According to the regional coordinator of the National Indian Foundation (FUNAI), André Vasconcelos, the Electoral Justice is addressing a request by the tuxauas made at the 43rd Meeting of Indigenous Peoples of Roraima held on the 14th. “The installation of this polling station will hinder the illegal enticement of indigenous voters. In past elections, they had to travel to the capital to vote, which takes four hours of travel by car plus 40 minutes by boat. This will allow the Yanomami people to fully exercise their citizenship," said Vasconcelos, who estimates that 800 indigenous people in that are eligible to vote in the 2014 elections.

The coordinator of the Yanomami Protection Front, João Batista Catalano, explained that the Yanomami land is a mosaic of people with different degrees of integration to society. “Some still live in isolation. However, the area where the station will be installed has a high degree of interaction with the non-indigenous society. There are secondary schools, health centers and indigenous people with college degrees, as well as many who are fluent in Portuguese," Catalano said.

For the President of the Regional Electoral Court of Roraima (TRE-RR), Judge of Appeal Mauro Campello, creating a polling station in the Indigenous Yanomami Area is a landmark in the history of the state's Electoral Justice. “It is a unique opportunity for the inclusion of indigenous peoples throughout the electoral process, considering the harsh difficulties they have to face due to the state's geography. Some have for walk for two or even three days in order to be able to vote. With a polling station closer to where they live, they may exercise their citizenship with more ease and convenience," Campello said.

Judge of the 3rd Electoral Area Erasmus Hallysson highlighted the mutual collaboration between the Electoral Justice and Funai to guarantee indigenous peoples the full exercise of their citizenship. “Our goal is to maximize electoral enrollment this community, always respecting electoral laws and resolutions," he said.

Services
Between 1-3 April, a team of four civil servants from the Roraima TRE provided services in the Yanomami area from 8 AM to 6 PM in the SESA clinic. Indigenous people may request their first Voter ID, transfer their electoral domicile, review their ID or request a duplicate. They must simply produce an identity document or a statement from the tuxaua community chieftain confirming his residence in the area.

According to data from Funai, 25,000 Yanomami indigenous people occupy approximately 9.6 million hectares of contiguous area, 13,000 of which live in Roraima (occupying over 5 million hectares) and 12,000 live in the Amazon (4, 6 million hectares). In total, there are 280 communities nationwide. In Venezuela, 10,000 Yanomami occupy 8 million hectares.