(English version adapted by Amazonlink.org)
The main topic to be discussed by the 19 ethnic groups during the III Summit of Indigenous Peoples of Acre and South of Amazonas is demarcation of indigenous land. Brazilian Indians have many reasons to insist in bringing up this topic until something will be done to make up for the injustice they suffered since Pedro Cabral (the “discoverer” of Brazil) landed in Vera Cruz in April 21st in the year 1500. At this time there were about five million Indians in Brazil. Today there are only 350 thousand.
As if the genocide of numerous peoples weren’t enough, the lands that once belonged to the Indians were more and more occupied by the white man. Brazilian society has an account of 500 years to settle, considering that almost all of them suffered distortion of their customs, loss of their dignity and usurpation of their riches.
The debate at the “Kaxinawá” (location of the summit) though will not be transformed into an announcement of hatred. The III Summit of Indigenous Cultures remains a proposal of fraternization of those who have learned in a painful process to demand back their rights through dances, songs, crafts and stories about the forest.
The visit of these ethnic groups in Rio Branco (capital of the Brazilian state of Acre) facilitates a new vision for the society of Acre on the indigenous peoples. These populations need to catch up with the process of reconstruction and revalorization of their rich traditions.
[Video: Yawanawa ceremony (15 of April 2002)
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