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Portrait of Valdelice Veron, spokesperson of the Guarani-Kaiowá people in Brazil

Portrait of Valdelice Veron, spokesperson of the Guarani-Kaiowá people in Brazil

© Planète Amazone / Gert-Peter Bruch

She is a mother, a wife, and an orphan daughter of the Guarani Kaiowá chief Marcos Veron, savagely killed by agro-crime in 2003, in Mato Grosso do Sul.

Valdelice Veron is more than an indigenous woman: she is a soldier, fighting with bravery to defend her people’s rights, violated like their land, on which her father and numerous leaders fell.

My daughter, get ready, because today we are taking back our land”, her father said to her ever since she was a child. She was born with the responsibility of never allowing herself to stop protecting her tekoha* and her family from other peoples in this state.

She learned to, and continues to fight even though she has to face death threats. Valdelice Veron fights on different levels, from the distribution of donations – with her husband Natanael Ñandeva Vilharva Caceres – to defending lives in territories recognized as indigenous, as for instance with the recent conflict for the Yvy Katu territory.

She is respected and recognized internationally. Sister of Chief Ládio Veron, also facing death threats, Valdelice deserves all prizes she has been granted and respect for the outstanding love she feels for the Guarani-Kaiowá people, despised and slaughtered.

Conferences are also part of her everyday life, as she exposes to the world the real situation of the most persecuted and assaulted indigenous people in its human rights.

This is the story of how this warrior was born:

“The chief waits outside, trying to hear his mother-in-law’s and the healer’s murmurs while his wife is in labour. In the Te'yikwe indigenous reserve, it is a sunny day. He stares at the earth when hearing the announcement of his new descendant’s arrival.

“It’s a girl”, ceremoniously says his wife’s mother, Júlia Cavalheiro Veron.

He then stoops, and in a commemoration attempt, takes a fistful of dirt and asks:

“How are they doing?”

“Your daughter carries in her the brave spirit of chaman Yvyrapoty!”

Chief Marcos Veron rapidly stands up and touches his mother-in-law’s right shoulder, who lets him in.

In the small room, Júlia is carrying the child in her arms. She asks the healer to leave, and shows the newborn to the Chief, saying:

“Look at her face!”

The baby has a lock of white hair. He takes her in his arms, lifts her small body toward a ray of light to look at her and draw a mark with his right thumb on her forehead.

“Júlia, our daughter is going to be a warrior!”

During the name attribution ritual, the girl was named Xamiri Nhupoty, after a flower resistant to cold and heat.

This is the story of how the Guarani- Kaiowá leader Valdelice Veron was born in 1978 in Japorã, Mato Grosso do Sul.”

* Tekoha: "place to live", name given by the Guarani-Kaiowá to their ancestral territories

© Planète Amazone - translated by Camille Guibal

Date : 25/07/2015