TEKOA OCOY VILLAGE

The village and indigenous land of Tekoa Ocoy, inhabited by majority Avá Guarani, is located in the border region, in the municipality of São Miguel do Iguaçu. It is influenced by the immigration of indigenous people from Paraguay and Argentina who are seeking better conditions.

Located by the lake of the Itaipu plant, it is the village today, which has more inhabitants per square meter. Families have a diversified income through the marketing of cassava, handicrafts and wage labor in cooperatives in the region.
This population previously lived in the village of Jacutinga, which was flooded by the construction of the Itaipu hydroelectric dam, so indigenous families moved to the municipality of São Miguel do Iguaçu in 1982, initially the area was 680 hectares, but later flooded. part and the area was 231,887 hectares that was demarcated in 1987.

Simão and Casemiro report that the village is a beautiful place, but the land area is small and insufficient for the residents. This situation to date is not well resolved with Itaipu. They tell that there are still conflicts and distrust among non-indigenous people who do not accept the presence of indigenous people in their lands that have not yet been compensated or regularized.

Despite the great influence of non-Indians, in Tekoa life follows much of ‘Nhandereko’ (Guarani way of life); A very important element is the language that is spoken and currently also taught at school and the Opy’i (houses of prayer). These are regularly, if not daily, attended by everyone in the community. There are groups called “Choirs” who sing in Opy’i the Mborai (Sacred Chants) as a living of culture and for the good of all beings.

With the flooding of the reservoir, the sculpture of the ‘Tree of Life’ emerged as a symbol of resistance. As the waters surged, many animals became islanded and had to climb the tree branches to try to survive. Some were saved by the natives with their canoes and many others perished. With this experience and observance, today the ‘Tree of Life’ is one of the sculptures most made to be the memory of that flood that drastically affected the environment of local communities and the search for ‘all creation’ for life, not only the indigenous who lost their land, their homes, also the animals, the trees that died underwater.