Monday, December 31, 2012

How would Brazil be different if the culture of the Indians outperformed that of the Portuguese

That's a rhetorical wondering, aim to question the essential return to the Brazilian culture origins. It is difficult to extrapolate such a culture but it would sure be a country with more respect for nature, less wear between cultures that came later.
The idea here is not to take the Indians out of their values, their land or their essence - On the contrary - as happened with many other prosper cultures (such as Japanese, Chinese, etc.). The Idea is to extrapolate how two hundred years (or more) of evolution would mature this culture and to show its importance the rest of the world.

I really admire how the Japanese have made survive many cultural aspects of their tribal ancestors, the Ainos, and these did make survive much of its ancient tribes of the Satsumon and the Okhotsk, and the events that took place from the unification of Shogunates 1590. Historical factors that made each member of their culture share social maturity and survived the whole cultural interference until the present day. "We have to aggregate the best of social evolution, technological, etc., but keep and respect our very own essence," once said my good, Japanese descendant friend, Pedro Takaki. I believe this would have been more appropriate cultural evolution here in Brazil with our local ethnicities.

Brazilian Indigenous people gave significant contributions to world culture, such as the domestication of (mandioca) cassava and utilization of various native plants, such as corn, tobacco, guarana, yerba mate, sweet potato, pepper, cashew, pineapple, yam, pine nuts, acai, pitanga, jabuticaba, mangaba, the hog plum (cajá), the umbu, annatto (urucum), genipap, passion fruit, guava, pequi, jambu, the jatoba, buriti , the carnauba (palm heart) juçara, pejibaye the jerivá, copaiba, andiroba, tucum, etc.. Also, spread the use of hammock and practice of the peteca (shuttle).

The brasilíndios had as a basic organization or taba village, formed by the ocas or huts, arranged in circles where families lived. The government was exercised by a council - nheengaba - formed by elders, and only in wartime chose a chief, or cacique morubixaba.

Like the Japanese culture, the various ethnic groups have preserved their culture and evolved a lot in all other respects. In this idealized Brazil under previous precepts, large ocas would be deemed as community cultural centers, where anyone could stay and perform researches or works.

Just as the Japanese that associate tradition to innovation the 'Technological Ocas' are the proof that the Brazilian ethnic groups are evolved without losing the essence.

For this alternative story would run its course in the way that I speculate, many things would have been changed in the past. I believe the most important deviation would be - the no promulgation - the law that prohibits the use of indigenous languages ​​throughout the country passed by the Marquis of Pombal.

The Tupi Idiom was the language originally spoken by the Tupi people of South America (tupinambás, tupiniquins, Caeté, tamoios, potiguaras, temiminós, tabajaras etc.). It was learned by Portuguese settlers and, through them and their descendants, became the most used language in Brazil during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

300 years ago, living in the village of ‘São Paulo de Piratininga’ (dried fish in Tupi-Old "xe pe Piratining Cui" - "going to where the fish are dried") was almost synonymous to speak Indian language. Only one in five people knew the Portuguese Idiom. Therefore in 1698, the provincial governor, Artur de Sá e Meneses, pleaded Portugal to send priests who knew only "the general language of the Indians", because "these people can not be addressed in another language."

The ending point of this Indianist culture happened with Angry Marquis of Pombal (1699-1782), who then ruled Portugal and its colonies. Tired of the problems he had with a lack of uniformity of language in Sao Paulo, he decided to impose the Portuguese Idiom by decree in 1758. The Directory of Indians, banned the use of all indigenous languages ​​and the teaching of the so called ‘nheengatu’, "diabolical invention" of the Jesuits.

Today, the use of the Old Tupi, or the called ‘lingua geral’ (general language) the foundation of all Brazilian ethnic languages​​, is restricted only to the region of the upper Rio Negro and part of Venezuela.

Eduardo Navarro, founder of 'Tupi Aqui' (Tupi here), a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) which aims to fight for the inclusion of Tupi language as an optional subject in the curriculum of schools in São Paulo, as well as our beloved Policarpo Quaresma, sees the importance of our cultural heritage prohibited by decree "The Old Tupi” was the language spoken by Tibiriçá, Coiobi, Araribóia, Felipe Camarão, Cunhambebe, Bartira, João Ramalho, Caramuru, Soares Moreno, Martim Afonso Leão, all familiar names from the Brazilian primary school, the language that was described spoken by Anchieta, Luis Figueira, spoken by Antonio Vieira, a language that evolved in shape, Fernão Dias Paes, Borba Gato, Bartolomeu Bueno da Silva (the Anhangüera), Raposo Tavares spoke with their 'bandeiras' and led to the interior regions of Brazil, language that Gonçalves Dias and José de Alencar tried to learn to compose their works and affirm a national literature, as opposed to Lusitanian literature".

The term "Indian" is a European invention. The original inhabitants of the Americas never saw themselves as an uno people. Rather, different indigenous groups nourished great animosity and fought each other constantly. In Brazil, the Tupi lived along the coast when the Portuguese arrived, being derived, however, from Amazon. An "Indian identity" was only created centuries later, with the arrival of Europeans.

In the town that evolved from the indigenous culture nature is always respected and houses still holds the shape of ‘ocas’ (dome shaped Brazilian indigenous residence).

The Brazilian indigenous population is formed by 238 completely different ethnicities. This diversity becomes clear when we consider the number of languages ​​spoken in Brazil. Research Linguist Aryon Rodrigues, UNB, show that there are 180 Indian languages in Brazil. From this set, some are practically extinct, such as Karipuna known by only a single Indian.


The Jesuits, based on the language and location, made the first classification of the Indians. Those who inhabited the coast (the Tupi), were called Indians of the general language and those who lived inside (Tapuias), tongue-tied Indians. In the nineteenth century, the German scholar Karl von den Steinen, presented the first scientific classification of Brazilians indigenous, dividing them into four basic groups or large nations:

2)Jês ou Tapuias;
3)Nuaruaques ou Maipurés e
4)Caraíbas ou Caribas.

And four smaller groups:

7)Miranhas; e

Until the mid-'70s, it was believed that the disappearance of indigenous peoples would be inevitable, however something amazing happened. In the 80s, there has been a reversion of the demographic curve and, since then, the indigenous population in the country has grown homogeneously, indicating a demographic recovery from most of these people, although demographically specific people have fallen and some are even threatened extinction. In the list of indigenous peoples in Brazil prepared by ISA (Socio-Environmental Institute), seven of them have populations between 5 and 40 individuals.

43 out of the 238 people listed have part of its population residing in other countries. According to the IBGE Census of 2010, 896,917 people declared themselves belonging to some ethnic group. From these, 324,834 live in cities and 572,083 in rural areas, representing approximately 0.47% of the total population of the country.

The General Coordination of Isolated and Newly Contacted Indians (CGIIRC) confirms the existence of 28 such groups. In Latin America, Brazil is the only country to have a specific body to develop policies to protect isolated Indians.

The cities that are more concentrated indigenous populations:

1) São Gabriel da Cachoeira (AM) – 76,31%
2) Uiramutã (RR) – 74,41%
3) Normandia (RR) – 57,21%
4) Santa Rosa do Purus (AC) – 48,29%
5) Ipuaçu (SC) – 47,87%
6) Baía da Traição (PB) – 47,70%
7) Pacaraima (RR) – 47,36%
8) Benjamin Constant do Sul (RS) – 40,73%
9) São João das Missões (MG) – 40,21%
10) Japorã (MS) – 39,24%


Paining of José Maria de Medeiros, Iracema character of Romance of José de Alencar, National Museum of Fine Arts in Rio de January 1881

Brazilian Romanticism became an official project, having the support of D. Pedro II to intellectuals and artists; it had direct connection to the politics. The Indians were chosen as character in order to appreciate the origins of nationality, seen as an integral element and founder of the Brazilian nation. In 1856, when Gonçalves de Magalhães published the epic poem ‘The Confederation of Tamoios’, work financed by the Emperor, the Indian came to be considered the national symbol. Conceived, courageous, pure and honorable, became the very embodiment of young, independent Brazilian nation, now led by D. Pedro II.

"Oswald de Andrade, on a trip to Paris from atop of a workshop from Place Clichy - navel of the world - discovered, dazzled his own country. Returning to the motherland, involved in enchantmentof the findings of Manueline, he confirms the startling revelation that ‘Brazil existed’. This fact, that some have suspected, opened his eyes to the radiant vision of a new world, unexplored and mysterious. The ‘Pau-Brasil’ poetry was then created" – (Pau-Brasil - The brazilwood tree, which gives Brazil its name - Caesalpinia echinata, is a species of Brazilian timber tree in the pea family).

Oswald de Andrade in Anthropophagic Manifesto, sought to transform the "noble savage" of Rousseau in embattled wild hog, which digests and transforms the European culture of the colonizer, making it part of their own culture. Considering the issue of the "noble savage" in Rousseau's thought, is it true.

I had the same insight of Oswald de Andrade in a dream I had in 1983 when, when looking through the telescope of Professor Lanzza the true essence of things mingle with your state of mind and then, something surprisingly new arises.

The canvas that Tarsila do Amaral painted in 1928, The Apapuru is considered the most valuable painting by a Brazilian artist, having reached the value of $1.4 million, paid by the Argentine collector Eduardo Costantini in an auction in 1995. exposed at the Museum of Latin American Art of Buenos Aires (MALBA).

Abaporu comes in terms of Tupi aba (man), pora (people) and ú (eat), meaning "man who eats people."

The Indianism gew in some isolated currents such as Baroque Indianism of Father José de Anchieta; arcadian Indianism of Basilio da Gama, author of the epic poem The Uraguai; the romantic Indianism of José de Alencar, in prose, with the novels The Guarani, Iracema, and Ubirajara, among others, the arts, the painting Moema by Victor Meirelles, Maraba and the Last Tamoio by Rodolfo Amoedo are great examples.

Indianism gonçalvino - Gonçalves Dias, on poetry, with poems scattered throughout various books, especially I-Juca Pirama, which recounts the death of the last remaining tribe of Tupi, eaten by the tribe of Indians Timbiras; Maraba, and the unfinished ‘the Timbiras.

Thus the movement Indianist joins modernism in anthropophagic new trend – THE NEW INDIANISM

The Cauim

A traditional alcoholic drink brewed by indigenous people of Brazil, obtained from the fermentation of cassava is found today only in indigenous reserves. However, in my Brazil with an alternative history the Cauim is as popular as beer, manufactured by the Tribal Cooperative Limited (CTL) - a form cooperative with commercial purposes whose philosophy is the sustainability and commitment to society. The Cauim market in Brazil is estimated at nearly one billion dollars, five times smaller than the beer market, but finds great expansion in the rest of the world.

Several brands of Cauim (typical native alcoholic beverage of the indigenous peoples in Brazil since pre-Columbian times. It is made of fermented manioc or cassava.) Compete in this fierce drinks market

The 'New Tupi' economy and society

The days of Today, agriculture is the main economic activity of indigenous people, but they also enjoy hunting and fishing, whenever possible. They perform subsistence economy, marked by the distribution and redistribution of goods produced and in which economic relations of production, whatever the activity, are guided by social ties defined by kinship. The "property" (exclusive use) of gardens and consumption of products is the elementary familiar, after the birth of the couple's children, which does not exclude the distribution of goods, produced or acquired services in the fields of the father and the realization of joint efforts within group’s macro family. The economy in alternative 'New Tupi' Brazil has the same roots. Despite being an economic system very similar to the socialist model it is completely capitalist. The Indians learned early what Darwin cited as 'Adaptability'. The Indians know better than anyone how to adapt to the needs of nature and mankind, and learned to profit from observing in detail the consumption habits of its economy.

Huge investment in research to verify knowledge acquired by several generations have made the 'New Economy Tupi' world leader in biotechnology, one of the most prosperous economic drivers of Brazilian Indians.

They also has an empirical knowledge on natural resources, which combined to research and high investments in the last 100 years, has led to extremely high level of excellence. This alternate Brazil divides the first position with the United States the status of world's largest economy.

In the alternative 'New Tupi' economy, Brazilian ethnic food not only has big investments but also brings our culture to all major capitals of the world.

As in any civilization, the standards of beauty and aesthetics are greatly radicalized when teenagers exploit them. In the case of indigenous Brazilians lip discs worn by Kayapos gave rise to many other forms of body piercing and adornments. The "window piercing" is a a plexiglas disk embedded in the lower lip and in the cheek so you could see inside gumline. The concept has taken-on a new life with young people!

The "window piercing" is a a plexiglas disk embedded in the lower lip and in the cheek so you could see inside gumline


The lesson that we learn when philosophize about such considerations is that 'it is not too late'. We can and should be proud of our origins, values ​​and them make them survive, thrive and live happily. Perhaps in coming days we see scenes like these without associating them with science fiction.

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