April 19 is known throughout Brazil as “India Day”. Next, understand its origins and why the current use of the term is being criticized.
The origin of the date refers to protests by indigenous peoples of the Americas in the 1940s, when a congress held in Mexico proposed to discuss measures to protect Indians in the region.
The Inter-American Native Congress, held in Patzcuaro, took place between April 14 and 24, 1940.
In principle, representatives of indigenous peoples refused to participate in the event, thinking that they would have no say or voice in the meeting – which would be chaired by political leaders from the participating countries. The Indians then carried out a boycott in the first few days, but, on April 19, they decided to appear at the congress to take part in the discussions.
That’s why the date chosen to celebrate Indian day became like this.
There are 55 official delegates in Mexico. Of the Americas, only Paraguay, Haiti and Canada are left behind. Among the Indians, there are 47 representatives of people from all over the continent – in the case of Brazil, the delegate sent was Edgar Roquette-Pinto, who was not Indian, but an anthropologist, ethnologist and scholar of indigenous peoples from Serra do Norte, on Amazon. .
With the end of the Congress, several general steps were established to be taken in defense of indigenous peoples.
Among them are “respect for equal rights and opportunities for all groups of the American population”, “respect for the positive values of their historical and cultural identity in order to improve the economic situation”, “adoption of indigenousism as a State policy”, and lastly, establishing “Day of the Republic of Indonesia”. Aboriginal America on April 19″.
Not all countries adopt the date as a day of celebration of indigenous cultures — and in Brazil it also takes time to become official, as the country does not comply with congressional deliberations.
It wasn’t until 1943 that a statutory decree was passed by President Getúlio Vargas, who finally set the anniversary date. The man responsible for convincing him was General Marechal Rondon — who was of indigenous origin through his great-grandfather and even created, in 1910, the Indian Protective Service — which later became the Funai (National Foundation of India) today.
“The President of the Republic, using the powers conferred on him by article 180 of the Constitution, and bearing in mind the fact that the First Inter-American Native Congress, which met in Mexico in 1940, proposed to the American states the adoption of April 19 for ‘India Day’, decide:
Art. 1 – considered – ‘India Day’ – April 19th.
Art. 2 – Provisions to the contrary are revoked”, the decision reads.
Apart from Brazil, Costa Rica and Argentina also adopted the date.
The congress also established the Inter-American Indigenous Institute, which became an organ associated with the OAS (Organization of American States) in 1953. After that, 11 more editions were held, the last in 1999, in Mexico City.
‘Day of Indigenous Diversity’
The use of the term “India”, however, was criticized by leaders in this area.
Doctor of education from the University of São Paulo and post-doctoral in Linguistics from the Federal University of São Carlos, Daniel Munduruku argues that the word “India” goes back to prejudice – for example, the idea that indigenous peoples are wild and creatures of the past – in addition to “hiding all the diversity of indigenous peoples.” “.
Therefore, “when we celebrate Indian People’s Day, we celebrate a fiction”, Munduruku said, on April 19.
A reflection of this is the celebration of the date created by the school, with “a figure with two face paints and a feather on its head, who lives in a triangular hollow”. “This is a folkloric idea and prejudice.”
“The word ‘indigenous’ says more about us than the word ‘Indian’. Indigenous means native, someone who existed before anyone else”, defends Munduruku, which includes the natives of the same name, located today in Pará, Amazonas and Mato Grosso .
“Maybe April 19 should be called Indigenous Diversity Day. People think it’s just a matter of political correctness. But for anyone who has dealt with words, you know how powerful they can be,” continues the author, author of more than 50 books for children. children, youth and educators.
*Original text published on April 19, 2018.
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