“Between silence and dialogue”
CAUIM: Maracanã Village or how many exterminations (des) is a country
published in April 10, 2013 to 23:50
Urutau Guajajara Photo: Orlando Callheiros/CAUIM Collective
Indeed, in addition to the massacres and epidemics, in addition to this singular savagery the West brings, there is, it seems, inherent to our civilisation, and the “dark half of shadows” where it feeds its light, the very remarkable intolerance of Western civilization in the face of different civilizations, their inability to recognize and accept the other as such, his refusal to let stand what you are not identical.
(Pierre Clastres, “Between silence and dialogue”)
the Collective CAUIM, via email
We, members of the collective CAUIM *, publicly express our repudiation to the actions of the State Government of Rio de Janeiro to expel the village terrain of the old “Museu do Índio, on the outskirts of the Mário Filho Stadium (Maracanã), as well as projects to transform the rich public, historical and cultural heritage that is there in parking lots or Museum of the Brazilian Olympic Committee.
The goals of Governor Sérgio Cabral frontally attack the rights of indigenous peoples and the history of Rio de Janeiro and Brazil, raping the right to memory, with the non-tipping of a centuries-old building for national indigenous policy, and destroying its social use in order to deliver the land to private enterprise.
Thus, the Government ends up with a place that served as shelter and housing for Indians residing or transiting through the city, which originally was a village and that intended by the State for more than a century to meet the original occupants of Brazil, since 2006 has established itself as a meeting point and cultural exchange of indigenous people, with each other and with the “whites”.
Even more serious than the destruction of the village the Maracanã and public heritage, was the war operation mounted by the Government, through its police forces, to perform the action. On March 22, the Brazilian society and the international community watched, terrified, to attack by hundreds of military police and members of the battalion to shock eviction from the old Indian Museum. Equipped with various armoured camburões, helicopters, Sonic, chemical weapons and hundreds of soldiers besieged, at dawn, the territory inhabited by indigenous people, invading it by the morning and starting a violent, pitched battle.
No one was spared of barbarism: Besides the police attacks to the occupants of the village Maracana, including pregnant women, infants and children, all present during the invasion of Shock were affected by several tear gas bombs and other chemical weapons; for the first time in Brazil, a sonic weapon was used. In addition to the supporters of the indigenous cause were also assaulted the deputies, Councillors, public defenders and members of the press by the armament that is condemned by the UN Chemical Weapons Convention in 1997.
The next day, March 23, when the inhabitants of the village “went to the Museu do Índio, Botafogo, to request a meeting with indigenous authorities of FUNAI, were again surrounded by the police, this time with the support of the BOPE. The peaceful occupation, again was criminalized. As had occurred the day before, the lawyer of the inhabitants of the Village Maracanã was prevented by police from reaching their represented.
The events narrated above provide a badge of indigenous populations who live in Brazil, marked by the silence of the federal authorities should protect their rights: neither FUNAI nor the Human Rights Secretariat of the Federal Government have spoken on the subject; nor did the Minister of Justice or the President of the Republic, Dilma Rousseff.
In fine tune with the violence of the State Government of Rio de Janeiro, the Federal Government continues dealing with indigenous peoples as obstacles to the great works that both want to perform, and, when not occupying the position of executioner, prefers to keep quiet, deliberately omitted in relation to the atrocities that affect the populations originating in Brazil.
Persists the genocide of the Guarani-Kaiowá in Mato Grosso do Sul, without Federal Government intervention; the threat to dozens of Indigenous Land with drought of its rivers, growing crime in their surroundings and end of game due to complex implementation of mega-dams, without the care of their most basic environmental restrictions; and, at the very moment of writing this text, it is a military action of repression to the Munduruku resistance, inhabitants of rio Teles Pires, with the forced installation of a set of hydroelectric plants in the region.
These are just a few faces of a same project adopted by the Federal Government and its regional allies, retrieving the developmental model of the military dictatorship, when the Pharaonic projects and the land grabs have landed not only political support, but also the use of State force to consolidate them.
The situation is well illustrated by the amendment of article 4 of Decree 5,289 of 2004, that disfigures the National Public Security Force, making it less a security instrument founded on the Federal Pact (between Municipalities, States and the Union, as our Constitution versa) than in a police force established to meet the Federal Government’s direct requests.
The biggest media outlets in the country also show no sensitivity or a minimum preparation to deal with indigenous affairs, as evidenced by newspaper coverage of the attack on the Village maracana.
The widespread prejudice in statements like “the real Indians are in the forest”, “it is supposed to be a village” and “they should go back to the place of them”, repeated countless times during transmissions, are in line with the cops who chanted during the repression, “return to the Bush, return to Roraima, Amapá”.
Ignorant of the complexity of the relationships that the indigenous Brazilians set out with the cities, including housing, and reifying a primitive image of Indians, the “opinion makers” (sic) meet indirectly the role of legitimizing violence against ethnic minorities, to reinforce the prejudice that weighs on them and criminalize their demands.
Between the pole and the pole of the forest, there are a myriad of possibilities of life. And that’s where the indigenous lives take place, as their own modes of thought and action in a world in constant motion and transformation. The transit between different spaces unfolds in a variety of historical experiences of relation to otherness, in the world of “white” (and your space par excellence, the city) occupies a prominent position.
Contrary to what many expect, the indigenous cultures are not dusty Museum articles, or for survivals a livelihood endangered archaic.
The multiplicity of indigenous ways of being in the 21st century do not fit the image prejudiced that many non-Indians insist on cultivating of “primitive man” pure and innocent in the jungle or of being on the wane in the city.
Far from being eliminated by living in urban centres and its banks, the indigenous vitality bloom within the difference, reaffirming themselves as Indians, that is, as a way to exist and think different from ours. Not for nothing, after more than 500 years of massacres, persecution and prejudice, the Indians resist, refusing to surrender to the genocide (“live!”) and ethnocide (“we continue being Indians!”).
Contrary to the predictions of extermination and acculturation of settlers from the Cabral of 1500 to C of 2013, the Indians are Indians, and Brazil is not a homogeneous nation: within the borders of its territory there are more than 200 different peoples speaking more than 150 different languages. So that the presence of a village in downtown Rio de Janeiro, next to a billionaire and prominent international enterprise (the new Maracana), resists as emblem of the existing social-cultural heterogeneity in the country: just for this, unwanted by the Government, and an obstacle to its policy hygienist.
Larger example of sociopolitical statement of difference, the Maracanã Village, with its proposal to be a space of artistic experience and intellectual exchange between indigenous and non-indigenous people from all over the country (and the world), makes us a generous plea to multiply our world from the picture and the experimentation with other forms exist. At a time of accelerated destruction of the environment and growth of monoculture landed of disrespect to the constitutional rights that protect the inhabitants of the areas affected by mega-projects, in addition to the sophistication and brutality of the repression apparatus of the State against the civilian population, we must always remember the consequences we are all Guarani Kaiowá.
* The collective is composed of graduate students of the post-graduate program in Social Anthropology at UFRJ/National Museum.