The ANA Messenger - Spring Edition
ANA’s Commissioner Meets with Indigenous Representatives from Brazil
ANA recently hosted a delegation from indigenous communities from Brazil. The delegation met with Commissioner Sparks, Courtney Roy, and Michelle Sauve. They were here as part of the United States U.S. Department of State’s International Visitors Program. The delegation will visit different agencies and organizations in the U.S. as part of an experiential learning curriculum entitled, “21st Century Indigenous Societies and Cultures/A Project for Brazil”.
During the visit to ANA, Mr. Marcelo De Jesus Kiriri, Chief of the Kiriri Indigenous Tribe, Mr. Agostiniho Eibajiwu, Curator of the Community Museum and Bororo Cultural Center of Meruri, Mr. Almires Guarani, President of the Indigenous Association Atygua, Jaguarapiru Village, and Mr. Urariwe Surui, Regional Coordinator, National Indigenous Foundation shared with Commissioner Sparks the challenges indigenous communities in Brazil are facing, including “hidden” Tribes who shun contact with urbanized parts of the country, as a self preservation tactic, yet face encroachment, violence, and environmental devastation at the hands of corporations who want their natural resources.
The delegation shared that there are over 320 ethnic groups, 51 linguistic groups, and 186 languages spoken in Brazil, including the 100 or so “hidden” Tribes. They had many questions for the Commissioner about sovereignty and self-governance, as the current status of the indigenous peoples in Brazil is not government-to-government, as it is in the United States. It is only since 1988 indigenous groups were considered persons with legal standing constitutionally in Brazil. They are hoping the “free, prior, and informed consent” outlined in the United National Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples will one day be enforced for the Tribes in Brazil. Right now they are using Facebook and social media to inform the public about the human rights and other abuses the people are facing. They likened this to their version of the “Arab Spring,” where every day citizens used the power of social media to generate public support for their cause.