As a way of promoting knowledge about indigenous life, a new ISA (Socioenvironmental Institute) initiative sees the release of a book Mirim – Indigenous Peoples of Brazil.
The book was inspired by the institution’s website, which defends the rights and environmental interests of indigenous tribes. With four chapters; ‘Who they are’, ‘Where they are’, ‘How they live’ and ‘Before Cabral’ (a reference to Pedro Álvares Cabral, Brazil’s ‘discoverer’), the book explores under-developed themes, which tend to be sources of confusion among children and young people, such as what exactly makes a person an Indian, how tribes live nowadays and generally demystifying stereotypes and clichés. The book also shows how native tribes are still spread out over the whole of the country’s territory, from the tropical savanna Cerrado region to the amazon, through the fertile Pampas lowlands, and even in the big cities, particularly communities in São Paulo. The book includes other features, like the influence of indigenous words on Portuguese, cultural contributions, awareness raising elements of issues like such as prejudice against native culture and games that can be varied depending on the amount of people available, suitable for classroom situations, for example.
These days Brazil has roughly 900 thousand indigenous people, separated into 246 different tribes, speaking 150 different languages. The book is massively important for Brazilian culture and future generations, and the MEC (Ministry of Education) is considering how it can be included in the national curriculum, so as to recognise the importance of Brazil’s indigenous tribes and cultures.
The book is available in the ISA’s online shop. With MEC’s support, the hope is that it will soon be a prominent feature in all Brazilian schools.