The Contestado War (1912-1916), which put the peasants and the Federal Government of the time on opposite sides, took place in the former Contestado Valley. The memory of the war is preserved in museums, monuments, historical sites and religious pilgrimage spaces in several municipalities of the Contestado valley. The historical region built by the presence of German, Italian and Japanese immigrants, in addition to the caboclos and person of African descent who already inhabit the region, is today a much sought after tourist destination in Brazil.
On July 4, 2019, the decision of the Contestado Valley Regional Government was issued, changing the name of the tourist region to Vale do Imigrante, which will consist of 25 municipalities, including the cities of Itaiópolis, Mafra, Major Vieira and Porto União. The detachment of Vale do Contestado has already been recognized by the Ministry of Tourism and is part of the 13th tourist region of Santa Catarina, being published in the Brazilian Tourism Map 2019.
This controversial decision, taken without consultation with the academics and historians of the Memory Institution of the region, was not well received by the majority of the population and a denunciation of the absence of debates about the substitution was taken to the Public Ministry and Legislative Assembly. According to Professor Nilson Cesar Fraga, who has been studying the region and the Contestado War for 25 years, the change is an “attack against the formation of the Santa Catarina people”. The history and effects that the Guerra do Contestado had on the region, and the presence of blacks and caboclos have their importance denied in favour of the valorisation of European colonisation.
Such a controversial decision, taken without consultation with the academics and historians of the Institution of the Memory of the region, was not well received by the majority of the population. The history and effects that the Contest War had on the region, and the presence of blacks and caboclos have their importance denied in favor of the valorization of European colonization. The Government justified its decision in the minutes as a better way of presenting the region for the tourist route.
The Government Court justified its decision in minutes as a better way of presenting the region for the tourist route, trying to make the Valley of the Immigrant a tourist project that reminds the gaucho cities of Gramado and Canela. For the researcher Paulo Pinheiro Machado, professor of History at the Federal University of Santa Catarina, trying to imitate a successful model, denying the identity of the region is a disrespect for our history and there is no economic justification that allows this achievement.
For the president of IGR Caminhos do Contestado, Viviane Bueno, the dismemberment will help to develop the region, which is one of the most impoverished in Santa Catarina. It justifies that cities like Piratuba, with much more infrastructure, were classified in the same region as municipalities that did not have the capacity to serve visitors.
BASTOS, Ângela. Mudança do nome e perda de área do Vale do Contestado geram críticas de pesquisadores. NCS Total notícias, 2019. Disponível em: <https://www.nsctotal.com.br/noticias/mudanca-do-nome-e-perda-de-area-do-vale-do-contestado-geram-criticas-de-pesquisadores>. Acesso em: 23 de março de 2020.
MACHADO, Paulo Pinheiro. Em defesa da Memória, da Justiça e da Cidadania das populações do Contestado. Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina. Florianópolis, 2019. Disponível em: <https://paulopinheiro.paginas.ufsc.br/2019/11/>. Acesso em: < 23 de março de 2020.
Text by Karen Wesseler Jung and Francine Soares de Almeida.