The Current Situation of Brazilian Indians

According to the National Indian Foundation (FUNAI) , the current indigenous population in Brazil is approximately 818,000 individuals, representing 0.4% of the Brazilian population. Living in villages, there are 503,000 indigenous people. However, there are estimates that there are 315,000 living outside indigenous lands, including in urban areas.

The indigenous population in the country has been increasing continuously, at a growth rate of 3.5% per year. This number tends to increase due to the continuity of efforts to protect Brazilian Indians, the drop in mortality rates, due to the improvement in the provision of health services, and to birth rates above the national average. There are about 53 groups that have not yet been contacted , in addition to those that are awaiting recognition of their indigenous status with the federal indigenist agency FUNAI.

About 60% of the Indians in Brazil live in the region designated as the Legal Amazon , but the presence of indigenous groups is registered in practically all Units of the Federation. Only in the states of Rio Grande do Norte, Piauí and the Federal District, the presence of indigenous groups is not registered.

According to youremailverifier, the Brazilian Indians are divided into three classes: the isolated ones, considered those who “live in unknown groups or whose few and vague reports are made through occasional contacts with elements of the national communion”; those in the process of integration , those who partially preserve the conditions of their native life, “but accept some practices and modes of existence common to other sectors of the national communion”; and the integrated , that is, the natives incorporated into the social communion and “recognized in the full exercise of civil rights, even though they retain the uses, customs and traditions characteristic of their culture”. According to Brazilian law, the native acquires full civilian capacity when it is reasonably integrated into society. For this to happen, it is necessary that you have a good understanding of the uses and customs of the national communion, know the Portuguese language and be at least twenty-one years old.

Citizenship of the Brazilian Indian

The full citizenship of the Indian depends on his integration into the national society and on the knowledge, even if precarious, of the moral values ​​and customs adopted by him. The 1988 Constitution made a great effort to develop a system of rules that could effectively protect the rights and interests of Brazilian Indians. In addition, it represented a large step forward on the indigenous issue, with several provisions in which it provides for the ownership of the lands occupied by them, the Union’s competence to legislate on indigenous populations and the preservation of their languages, uses, customs and traditions.

The Federal Government submitted to Congress a proposal to change Brazilian legislation, in order to consolidate new paradigms. This is the Statute Project for Indigenous Societies, which is already under discussion. The purpose of the proposal is to ensure that the protection of Brazilian Indians will be based on the recognition of their cultural differential and no longer on the false premise of their inferiority. With this, in addition to the effective guarantee of their rights, it seeks to allow indigenous peoples the space they need to develop their future projects.

According to FUNAI, society has only recently become aware that Indians are an integral part of national life. Thus, Brazilian Indians participate in the country’s politics by electing candidates, helping to draft laws and sharing problems related to the environment, politics, economics, health and education. The affirmation of the right to cultural diversity implies the claim by indigenous peoples of their own political space within the State and nationality. The conquest of this space presupposes, in turn, the recognition of increasing levels of participation by indigenous communities in decisions that have an impact on their way of life.

Indigenous groups and their relationship with Brazil today

Brazil has an immense ethnic and linguistic diversity, which is among the largest in the world and is the largest in South America. This diversity is seen as a factor of cultural enrichment of nationality. Contemporary Brazil is more indigenous than is usually supposed. Although culturally transformed by the secular interaction of civilizing processes, the indigenous presence is strongly perceived in the physical type and customs of large segments of the population, especially among Brazilians in the Northeast, the Amazon and the Midwest. If it is true that Brazilian indigenous groups are reduced to a small fraction of what they were in the past, it is also true that this segment of the population is today in full demographic recovery.

Despite all the assimilationist pressures until the 1970s, indigenous groups did not fall apart in the body of the mestizo population. On the contrary, its population contingent has been gradually recovering. Brazilian indigenous groups have managed to maintain a reproduction rate higher than the national average in recent decades. Contrary to what had been predicted, the Brazilian Indian did not turn into white, nor was it completely exterminated, but in the last decades it began a slow and sure process of demographic recovery to which, to a large extent, the still unfinished demarcation of indigenous areas will have contributed. and the provision of assistance services by the State.

Indigenous groups are transmuted, re-elaborating the elements of their culture in an always continuous process of ethnic transfiguration. However, they continue to identify themselves and are identified as indigenous. Instead of their extinction or assimilation, what has been verified in the last decades is the vigorous resistance of the ethnic identity of the Brazilian indigenous groups.

The treatment of the indigenous issue is one of the priority issues on the Government’s social agenda. The Brazilian Indian is a citizen who has desires, needs and specific needs, which need to be met by the State. Although concentrated largely in the Amazon, the Brazilian indigenous population is dispersed in almost the entire national territory. Some groups still live in relative or complete isolation, others are integrated into the regional economy, but they consider themselves and are recognized as members of a culturally differentiated community.

For these groups, the affirmation of the right to ethnodevelopment and the preservation of their cultural identity involves the guarantee of their constitutional rights, the possession of land, the defense of dignified living conditions, and the conquest of their political space. And these are exactly the goals of the Government’s indigenous policy. The concern is to guarantee the rights of the indigenous people and to improve the legal provisions related to these rights. Therefore, efforts are being made to intensify measures to ban the predatory and illegal exploitation of natural resources, the removal of invaders, especially prospectors on indigenous lands, and the promotion of self-sustainability and the community development of indigenous groups.

Brazilian Indians