It is in the voice of Vanda Witoto and several indigenous leaders that the mini-documentary Indigenous Peoples in Brazil honors the living and collective memory of the more than 260 peoples that inhabit the country. Part of book launch Indigenous Peoples in Brazil 2017-2022, the film is produced by Instituto Socioambiental (ISA).
With 16 minutes of duration, the film expands the narrative of the book with strong testimonials and images that illustrate the beauty of Brazilian indigenous diversity and the unjustifiable violence suffered by communities. In addition to the film, an audio special of the Copy, Relative, ISA podcast about indigenous peoples and traditional peoples of the forest, presented by Ester Cezar and Helder Rabelo.
The series of materials highlights the importance of the struggle of indigenous peoples to place themselves on the map and in the historical line of Brazil, as Maurício Ye'kwana, leader of the Ye'kwana people and director of the Hutukara Associação Yanomami points out in one of the statements: “ The Brazilian people have forgotten who the indigenous peoples are and their wealth. They don't know that there are indigenous peoples, and the great value they have in that, ”he said.
The set of materials also highlights the violence and silencing faced in the period, one of the most challenging for Indigenous Brazil, marked above all by territorial threats, impacts of Covid-19 and intense violations of rights and setbacks. This is what Vanda Witoto, nursing technician, educator and leader of the Witoto people points out. “We say that, really, we experienced two viruses during the pandemic: in addition to Covid, we had to deal with the neglect of our country’s rulers.”
In line with the book, the film also records the importance of indigenous peoples for the maintenance and protection of forests in Brazil. ISA study revealed that the presence of indigenous peoples enhances the protection of territories and promotes an increase in biodiversity and the recovery of degraded areas.
the mini-documentary Indigenous Peoples in Brazil it also highlights the need to protect the territories of isolated indigenous peoples in Brazil, a country with the largest record of isolated peoples in the world, with more than 100 peoples. “There is no way to separate this existence of the territory from our existence as a people. She is interconnected. If you don't guarantee the territory, people's lives are not guaranteed", explains Angela Kaxuyana, leader of the Kaxuyana-Tunayana Indigenous Land.
Currently, there are 732 indigenous lands in different stages of recognition, of which only 491 have completed demarcation.
Home to more than 1,5 million indigenous people, Brazil still fails to protect its indigenous peoples. In the context of the intensification of attacks and setbacks, the period was crucial to strengthen the indigenous struggle - with emphasis on female leaders. In 2019, for example, the first March of Indigenous Women took 2.500 representatives of 130 peoples to the streets of Brasília to claim respect for their territories, bodies and spirits.
“I can be in the city, I can be studying in the city, but my memory, my language, my childhood, everything is there, based on the village, our community, our people. So, our history exists, it is alive, and that is exactly why we defend our land so much”, says Maial Paiakan, Kayapó activist and from the Paiakan Institute.
Indigenous Peoples in Brazil 2017-2022
Created in the 1980s by the Ecumenical Center for Documentation and Information (CEDI), the organization that gave rise to ISA, the publication Indigenous Peoples in Brazil was born to give visibility to indigenous peoples and the devastation of their territories, little known at the time, even by specialists.
It was by establishing contact with people who had direct relationships with indigenous communities that CEDI was able to create an extensive network of collaborators to contribute to monitoring and establish the document as an essential tool to bring visibility to the struggle of indigenous peoples.
The most recent edition, Indigenous Peoples in Brazil 2017-2022, published by ISA shows in its more than 700 pages that indigenous Brazil is a contemporary history that continues to emerge, being lived, written and recreated on a daily basis.