Anthropology is one of the pillars to a sustainable world, no one questions that. It is an essential tool to understand people needs, past connections, integrate them, avoid and correct historical injustices, and make the world a better place. Along with ecology in the recent years it is also likely the science that have most called the attention from the overall, urban population, not directly involved in the issues determinated by its studies. I cite ecology because it is a more global phenomenon and helps foreigners to have an idea on the magnitude of the role that anthrophology has also played in Brazil, especially affecting rural communities.
Let me complete saying that its role is a just, dignified and important role, of course. We are still a country where virgin lands are plenty and as civilization advances to them there is a natural clash between populations. And so the importance of a mechanism to mediate that. That said, its easy to note that for years there wasn’t enough coverage to protect indigenous people interests around here. Agriculture, the one we are talkin about now, grains, started its advance in the 70’s towards the mid-west of the country. The State was not really present in the process, spoils were made, land was seized, killing was common. Not only for indigenous I should add, this was a mess everywhere. Something like the american old-west stories when eveybody was hunting for gold.
Yeah, that is pretty recent. In Mato Grosso for instance, some guys are still alive to tell you these stories eye-on-eye. In some areas, there are three, four papers testifying the ownership of the land, each for a different owner. It is a vestige of that days. Indigenous, without the apparel of antique lawyers and powder, were the ones that suffered the most amidst the turmoil.
Now, Brazil has finally matured. We are a consolidated democracy, and society is pursuing for retractions wherever it is possible. One of the possible ? Indians, a long suffered minority. An extremely important question, no doubt. But unfortunately, after this initial, noble effort to correct errors from the past, things lost control. What is happening in Brazil has surpassed the level of absurdity. Under the government agencies arms and international NGOs, what is being done in most cases is the spoil of productive land, disestablishment of longtime(10,20y+) rural communities, and the demarcations of gigantic areas to alleged tribes that are wearing Nike shoes, Rayban glasses, and Samsung smartphones.
Under the claim that “We were here before the Brazilian state was even formed” any demarcation seems possible for anthropologists.
Numbers and pictures speaks for itself: