I am Aboriginal, not mixed race | Aboriginal Perspectives Series & World Anthropology

Original link: https://tyingknots.net/2022/07/i-am-indigenous-not-pardo-push-for-self-declaration-in-brazils-census/

From August 1, 2022, Brazil will start a new round of national census that has been postponed for two years due to the new crown. In the Brazilian-style ethnic group division that has never ceased to be controversial, in addition to the categories of blacks, whites, and yellows, there are two categories of tan people (pardo) and indigenous people, of which tan people generally refer to various mixed races. In this multi-integrated country, whether it is the first three types of ethnic groups that seem to be clearly defined or the latter two types that are mixed together, the personal identification and personal declaration are actually a spectrum with blurred boundaries. Group politics and cultural awareness.

According to the sociologist José Carlos Matos Pereira, Brazil’s census dates back to the end of the 19th century, when the purpose was to collect taxes and conscripts and did not take into account languages, peoples and customs that were useless for officialdom Aboriginal populations were largely excluded, and only converts to Christianity were included in the caboclo (mixed-white) and tan statistics. It was not until the census in the 1990s that aboriginal people were provided as an ethnic option to limited areas. It was not until the 2010 census that the aboriginal option was extended to the whole country. Aboriginal peoples, 274 Aboriginal languages, 817,963 Aboriginal people. In the 2010 census, more than one-third (315,000) of Aboriginal people lived in cities, and 69 Aboriginal groups had not yet had contact with the outside world. Others were asking the federal government to recognize their Aboriginal status. 17.5% Can’t speak Portuguese. Nonetheless, this data is considered by Aboriginal leaders and sociologists to greatly underestimate the reality. In reality, Aboriginal identities are generally ignored and included in other ethnic groups, which directly affects their visibility in policy and everyday culture. and rights. Movements such as “I am an aboriginal, not a mixed-race” have also emerged to mobilize self-declaration of aboriginal status. At the end of the year, astonishing data may be produced again.

The census and self-reporting are also an important angle to cut into and reveal contemporary Aboriginal issues and identity and identity politics in multi-ethnic societies. This article is compiled from the environmental reporting website Mongabay’s “Indigenous Peoples in Brazilian Cities” series of reports, and more narratives under this theme will be released in the future (the translations have made great adjustments to the narratives according to the differences in media reading characteristics). Words from aboriginal languages ​​in the text are presented in italics, and words with clear meanings are attempted to be translated into Chinese where appropriate. Official translations are not provided, but only for readers to refer to their meanings.

This article is a translation of the “Brazil Indigenous Perspectives” series, which will successively introduce the indigenous narratives in current Brazilian society, and use these stories that we know little about to open the cocoon of civilization. From the perspective of the planet, the center of the destiny of the earth today should belong to the Amazon rainforest, the fringe area of ​​the international stage. This place, which concerns the miracle and destiny of all life, is being pushed to the tipping point of destruction step by step in the current dark and corrupt Brazilian political situation. In this context, the indigenous movement in Brazil continued to rise and was at the forefront of resistance. Born out of the forest, the people who always endure the most appalling violence have the most acute perception of the environment and danger, and at the same time carry the suffering and poetic justice of history. In their lives and struggles in various places, the Indigenous people both face the problems faced by all peoples today, and open up these problems, opening up to us other human existences, other worlds, and casting us a vision of connection—— We have always been the natives of the earth.

Therefore, this series also reflects the perspective and care of world anthropology. As Tim Ingold pointed out, we live in the same world, but this world is not a homogeneous universe, but is full of various conditions and A possible multiverse.

Original author / Karla Mendes
Original title / “I am Indigenous, not pardo”: Push for self-declaration in Brazil’s census
Source of the original article/ published in Mongabay on June 30, 2021, link to the original article in the series “Indigenous in Brazilian cities”/ https://ift.tt/d8Bhvqw push-for-self-declaration-in-brazils-census/
Translation / Edited by Huang Xingshan / Cataloged by Zhou Xingyue / Wang Jing

01. Do you consider yourself an Aboriginal?

In 1500, the Portuguese fleet, led by Pedro Álvares Cabral, landed in Brazil, and the knight Pero Vas de Caminha, then minister of the Royal Expedition, landed in Brazil. Vaz de Caminha) wrote a detailed report to the monarch on 1 May of the same year. The Caminian Report is regarded as one of only three surviving authoritative records of a “discovery” (after discovery, which means conquest or invasion). In the letter, Caminha described the locals as “tan people” (pardo): “They are tan people, naked and without any covering. They have bows and arrows in their hands…their skin color It is brown and slightly reddish, and the face and nose are good-looking and well-born.”

More than five centuries later, the term tan is still in use as an official classification of skin color and race in the Brazilian census questionnaire, used to refer to all types of mestizos, including Aboriginal-Black and Aboriginal-white ancestry . But Indigenous leaders believe the term is a key factor in the chronic underestimation of Brazil’s Indigenous population, which in turn has contributed to a lack of public policy targeting Indigenous people, especially in urban areas, where they have become more “transparent” .

“By the 18th century, many families of our ancestors had chosen the expression ‘tan people’ in order not to be enslaved or killed. Anyone who has read the history of our ancestors knows that hiding Aboriginal identities benefits the many Aboriginal people in this territory. Survival of the group. These classifications on the census form are meant to hide our identities and erase our memories,” prominent Aboriginal leader Ayrton Krenack said in April 2021 at the “I Am Aboriginal, Not Mixed Race” (Não sou pardo, sou indígena), which is part of a series of national aboriginal mobilization meetings to advocate for Aboriginal groups previously reported as tan in the census to self-report in the 2022 census as Aboriginal people. The campaign highlights that the tan and mestiço (mestiço, meaning mixed race) categories are “colonial tricks” that create poverty and prevent societies from forming recognition of their Aboriginal identity, thereby depriving Aboriginal people of their rights .

Charles Mott, The Primeval Forest: The Edge of Paraíba, National Library of Brazil

According to the 2010 census of the Brazilian Bureau of Geography and Statistics, there are about 900,000 indigenous people in Brazil, accounting for less than 0.5% of the total population. But Indigenous leaders believe that Brazil is actually more indigenous, and they self-report as tan to avoid society’s ingrained prejudice against indigenous peoples.

Aylton said: “It is very important for us to not forget the historical process and to promote the building of a pluralistic community in Brazil. The creation of words such as Tan, Mestizo, Cabocro and other categories is based on the colonial above racism. They are not just lineages, they carry all the weight of history, but also colonial violence, which requires us to look at these issues in terms of racism as well. Structural racism as seen today, since 17, 18 It’s been imprinted on our skin for centuries, like a branding iron on an animal.”

Historically, in addition to Tan, there are several Aboriginal-related terms, such as Capoclo, Hinterlander (sertanejo), and Gentile (gentio), whose definitions have also changed over time, but all Directly affects the self-positioning of Indigenous peoples, as reflected in today’s census. Ayelton sees a need for a discussion on how the Bureau of Statistics conducts the census and the categories it uses to define skin colour and race, and calls for a rethinking of Brazil’s sociological research on tans and indigenous peoples. He noted that in censuses in other countries, including the United States, “who is black and who is indigenous is well established,” and Brazil’s inaccuracy of this distinction is also reflected in the lack of correlation with indigenous peoples. Most tans end up being considered along with blacks (only 7.61% of the national population) when making social policy.

Professor João Pacheco de Oliveira, head of the Ethnological Collection of the National Museum of Brazil and a member of the Forum for Science and Culture of the Federal University of Rio, in his book “Being “Mixed”, Leaving “Mixed”: The National The article Indigenous Peoples in the Census explains how the presence of Indigenous peoples in Brazil has been buried in demographics over time. The tan category used in censuses and broader population policymaking “seems to serve no purpose other than as a tool for discourse on intermarriage and to gather data that can reinforce ideological perceptions of Brazilians’ growing “whitening”. “

Oliveira believes that “preserving mixed race” seems to be a fair and peaceful solution to ethnic conflict, but cultural and ethnic diversity is in fact denied, which he calls “racismo à brasileira”, which is an attempt to Pretending to be “lovable” Brazilians, the tan category was “a conduit for Brazilian-style racism”, resulting in indigenous peoples being “excluded from the national melting pot” in 20th-century censuses. “Tan people are a common expression between people of different skin color to refer to people of mixed race, and this is completely inconsistent with the situation of Aboriginal people, which means differentiated legal status, not some claimed internal homogeneity and External distinctiveness based on skin color. Census respondents who declared themselves Indian or Native did not want to be included in the color classification, but wanted to establish their specific rights and relationship to the state,” Oliveira added. Indigenous peoples in Brazil “have no uniformity of skin color and no physical features that can be distinguished from other groups”, so it is easy to be classified as black or white. .

The Bureau of Statistics admits that some Aboriginal people have difficulty answering questions about colour and race in the census. In a preliminary test for the 2022 census, Marta de Oliveira Antunes, a tech team member who entered the Aboriginal community, found that many people tended to refer to information on their birth certificates.

“I hate this question,” a Kaingang [Kaingang means “forest man”] woman told her.

After answering the questionnaire, the woman explained: “Because in my file, I’m the only person in my family who is identified as a tan.”

When the census taker asked her if she was a tan, she replied, “To you, I am, but I’m not…I’m Aboriginal.”

For indigenous peoples who do not speak Portuguese, there is also a translation problem with the term Tan. Antunes pointed out that in Yanomami, pardo means ‘dead breath’. “I was trying to understand how the guide translated it, and he laughed in front of me for a while. They translated black and yellow accordingly. color. White people are non-Yanomami people, it’s us, any of us, regardless of skin color or race. Aboriginal people are Yanomami people to them, which translates to Yanomami people. So the question It means nothing to them.”

Despite mounting criticism, the 2022 Census will continue to use the previous tan categories, however, with methodological adjustments to collect more comprehensive Aboriginal information. A new question has been added to the survey: “Do you consider yourself Aboriginal?” This will be used in all urban areas where the Bureau of Statistics previously identified a significant number of Aboriginal people, many of whom were previously answering questions about colour and race. , tend to fill in information on birth certificates and other official documents, identities do not appear in the census.

The Bureau of Statistics has also adjusted the concept of the term “village” (aldeia) to cover more of the actual Aboriginal communities included in urban areas. Antunes said adding the question to the test for Aboriginal reserves increased the percentage of people who self-declared as Aboriginal by 15.3 per cent. For example, the Cinta Larga, despite having a “well-constructed” Aboriginal identity, most of them still self-report as black, and the addition of questions asking whether they are Aboriginal has their Aboriginal identity recorded in the in the census data.

“Ask about colour or race doesn’t work because it’s an ethno-racial division of non-indigenous societies, largely imposed by colonialism,” Antunes pressed, “if the inhabitants of the reservation have been viewed as Indigenous people, also recognized by the state as Indigenous people in public policy, but still claiming to be other skin color or race when they declare, what about the situation outside the reservation?” Because of the unique ethno-ethnic classification adopted by Brazil, It’s not an easy question for non-Brazilians either.

Nursing worker and Witoto Wanda Ortega has called for the inclusion of urban Aboriginal people in the vaccination program during her Covid-19 vaccinations. Credit Raphael Alves/IMF via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

02. The epidemic exposed “injustice and discrimination”

The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted how a lack of official recognition of their identity affects indigenous Brazilians living in urban areas. Portuguese teacher and film director Elvis Desa, also known as Hugo Fulni-ô , who holds a master’s degree in linguistics at the Federal University of Alagoas, is of the Fulni-ô ethnicity [Yate ( Ia-tê ) meaning “Riverside People”], lives on an aboriginal reservation near the city of Águas Belas in the northeastern state of Pernambuco. He said he was vaccinated against the new crown, but saw that the aboriginal people in the city only half a kilometer from the reservation did not have the right to be vaccinated.

“The allegation of Aboriginal villagers and Aboriginal people in the city has a negative impact on Aboriginal people living in the city,” he said by phone. “Only villagers can be vaccinated, as if the Aboriginal people were abandoned. This is a kind of Prejudice. Indigenous people can be in the countryside or in the city. The location doesn’t matter.” What he describes is just one of many similar incidents in Brazil, revealing the ongoing struggle that indigenous peoples face, not just to be seen as indigenous in the city , but also to strive for differentiated public policy consistent with reservations.

In March 2021, the Supreme Federal Court ruled that for historical, cultural and social reasons, Indigenous peoples are more susceptible to infectious diseases and have higher mortality rates than the national average, and should be included in the federal government’s vaccination program. But the priority has not been enforced enough in urban areas, and federal prosecutors in some areas have had to sue to ensure that Indigenous residents in cities can get vaccinated, as in the Amazon state and the Amazon region.

“There are Indigenous inhabitants in cities throughout the Amazon,” said prosecutor Fernando Merloto Soave, who filed the lawsuit. The lawsuit provides updated information on the state’s Indigenous urban population held by the Aboriginal Association, and Epidemiological studies showing that Indigenous peoples are more susceptible to infectious diseases. In Campo Grande, the capital of the midwestern state of Mato Grosso do Sul, a lawsuit by the federal Department of Public Affairs has also pushed for Aboriginal vaccination.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed injustice and discrimination,” State Attorney Marco Delfino said by phone. “It’s impossible not to give priority to vaccinating indigenous peoples in urban areas.” He called the issue “more racist” because the Residents, along with prisoners, homeless people, people with AIDS, have been a priority group for other vaccination campaigns, including tuberculosis and the flu, “no one ever questions that. But when Indigenous people get what others want, More discussion about racism than technology,” people questioned, “why do privileged white people have to get vaccinated after Aboriginal people, especially in urban areas?”

The Satre-Mo Indigenous Women’s Association displays masks they produce for their own use and for donation to relatives. Photo by Raphael Alves/IMF via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

03. Various indigenous peoples in the city

Brazil’s 2010 census was the first to count the indigenous population nationwide, providing an indigenous option in all civic questionnaires in the skin color and ethnicity categories; previously this option was only available to limited minority groups. The results this time show an astonishing diversity of Indigenous peoples: 305 ethnic groups and 274 languages ​​spoken across the country. In urban areas, 297 ethnic groups were counted, including the Tapajós , Aimoré , Tamoio and Carrillo, which had been identified as extinct in the previous census ( Karijó ) these four peoples.

However, true ethnic diversity may be even richer, with 43% of Aboriginal respondents saying they did not know their ethnicity, and 5.5% of respondents having their race classified as undefined, unidentified or undeclared. Previous data showed that the cities with the largest number of indigenous people were São Paulo, São Gabriel da Cachoeira in Amazonas, Salvador in Bahia, Rio, Boa Vista in Roraima and the capital. Brasilia, of which only the Sanga Falls and the town of Scenic Spot are located in the Amazon region. But several experts have called for the inclusion of Manaus, the capital of the Amazonas state, in the 2022 census, which is expected to be the city with the largest indigenous population.

During the new crown epidemic, the NGO Manaus and Surrounding Indigenous Peoples Cooperation Organization (COPIME) and International Caritas International (Caritas) provided food assistance to 3,000 aboriginal families. Prosecutor Soave estimates that at least 12,000 people in Manaus have arrived. 15,000 Aboriginal people, some estimates put the number at 30,000. “Almost the entire capital is populated by indigenous people. There are more than 20 groups of indigenous people in Manaus, in general danger zones, outlying areas, ‘red zones’ where drug trafficking and crime are rampant and even civil defence is at risk,” Sow said. Ave said that the Tarumã neighborhood alone has 4,000 residents, mostly aborigines.

Uncertainty about the future is a common feature of the city’s Aboriginal people, who struggle to have Aboriginal identity recognized and constitutionally guaranteed rights, while city, state and federal governments blame each other. But in some cities, progress is being made.

In Manaus, initiatives launched by the Federal Ministry of Public Affairs in conjunction with other agencies have successfully advanced indigenous health interests, such as the inclusion of shamans in therapy. This is how the inter-ministerial group was created, which employed Aboriginal health agents to provide differentiated healthcare for Aboriginal people in more ways than just adjusting their diets according to community habits, such as placing Put a hammock instead of a bed. “We want to promote this initiative throughout Brazil. Differentiated services are not superficial. Sometimes people want to sleep in hammocks in hospitals; sometimes patients are accustomed to eating fish, but the hospital’s diet does not contain fish, which is detrimental to their health, ‘ Soaway said.

In addition, they are pushing to revise racial and colour classifications in all health care to meet Aboriginal needs, as well as establishing Aboriginal cultural centres in the city, opening Aboriginal schools and hiring Aboriginal teachers to teach traditional culture outside of the regular curriculum. For Aboriginal teachers, given that their generational knowledge is based on oral transmission, they will not be required to provide any official credentials and will be assigned special positions and pay grades.

Aboriginal people live in cities in a variety of ways. The list of cities with the highest percentages of indigenous inhabitants differs from the list of cities with the highest absolute numbers of indigenous peoples, and is more concentrated in northern and northeastern Brazil: Marcação in Paraíba, Santo Cascades in Amazonas, Uiramutã in Roraima, Baía da Traição in Paraíba, Carnaubeira da Penha in Pernambuco, and Double Shell in Alagoas City (Pariconha), of which only the Sanga Falls and the fowl are located in the Amazon region.

In many areas, Aboriginal struggles are directly linked to centuries of colonial rule, and many Aboriginal peoples were forced to move to cities, or, like the reservations where Hugo Vulnio lived, where land was encroached on by cities. Although the city of Meishui is separated from their reserve by a stone, the Volnio people of a total of 5,000 people still practice their traditions and go to the Ouricuri ceremony every year, in the city of Nagao from September until November. Their territory is 12,000 hectares, but the lands of their ancestors before they were not “robbed” were even wider. “Our people were drafted to fight in the Paraguayan war. Princess Isabel wrote to donate this land. But it was already ours. The Funai still hold our 75,000 hectares,” Hugo said.

According to Roberto Liebgott, head of the Commission for Indigenous Missions of Southern Brazil (Cimi), a lobbying group with ties to the Catholic Church, the city’s diverse indigenous populations are linked to attempts by many places during the colonization process. “Assimilation” is directly related to the Aboriginal people, “Since the colonists came here, they’ve been forming villages…these villages and mansions have been catalysts for Aboriginal people from very early on. One approach is to attract, because when you attract them When the time comes, bring them into an integrated environment to assimilate them. Another approach is eviction, because cities, real estate, private lands are also developing on Aboriginal lands, promoting the eviction of Aboriginal people who touch the economic interests of the city.” The process is more intense in the South and Southeast, where Aboriginal people are “almost non-existent”.

04. Call for self-reporting in the 2022 census

The upcoming census will be conducted in a unique way, Antunes said. For the first time, the Bureau of Statistics will commission anthropologists to conduct a census in Aboriginal areas. To access Aboriginal areas, census takers need to work with Aboriginal people to promote Communicating with the community, gaining the trust of residents, and getting the most accurate information possible. “In these areas, we only go every ten years, and some places are expensive to enter. It’s not fair to us to leave with low-quality information, it’s not fair to the Aboriginal people, and it’s not fair to society,” Antu said. Ness said Aboriginal people were also paid to act as guides and were highly involved in the call for self-declaration.

Ricardo Ventura Santos, a researcher at the Osvaldo Cruz Foundation [a public health research institute based in Rio] and a professor at the National Museum, said that getting the census data as accurate as possible is critical and will directly Affecting public policy, the data also needs to be analyzed to improve the details, and the data related to aboriginal identities also need to be improved in order to more accurately define the urban aboriginal population: “The identity of the city is very diverse, and so is the identity of the rural. The distribution of cities, the heterogeneity of the urban environment is very important. It’s all about… First, how to identify Indigenous peoples and other minorities, how to use these data to identify inequalities, housing, living areas, community members, community health conditions and policing status and so on…so getting Aboriginal data, whatever it is, will have an impact on all public policy.”

Several Aboriginal activists and experts have criticized the lack of aid for the city’s Aboriginal people. The Aboriginal Association said that “indigenous citizens in socially disadvantaged positions” have access to the same social assistance networks as other Brazilians and are working to “devise public policies for urban indigenous peoples” based on the different challenges they face. . Because of being warned not to be interviewed by the media, an official who has worked in the Aboriginal Association for more than a decade said anonymously that although the Aboriginal Association did not provide any specific policies for the aboriginal people in urban areas, the demand was increasing and “naturally” increased. Aid to Indigenous peoples in urban areas; issues related to Indigenous peoples in urban areas were “less important” but now have a responsibility, such as food aid to be distributed to Indigenous peoples in informal settlements in urban areas. In many areas, the job of the Aboriginal Society is mainly to issue various civil documents, and the only real business in non-urban areas is the demarcation of territories.

History teacher Marize Vieira de Oliveira Guarani was born in Rio and, thanks to a quota system for indigenous peoples, became the first to enter the Federal University of Fluminense in the neighboring city of Niterói to study for a doctorate in education of indigenous peoples. But an Aboriginal colleague of hers was turned down when she applied for a quota for tans, considered “very light”. There are several places for Tans and only one place for Aboriginal people.

Indigenous language teacher José Urutau Guajajara [Guayajara means “feathered master”] holds a master’s degree in linguistics from Universidad Federal de Rio and is pursuing a Ph.D. He said it was difficult to adapt to the academic system. “It’s hard to have a school that understands our time, Guayajara’s time. We are separate. I’ve never had a high grade since I went to school, never, never just pass”.

Born in the northeastern Brazilian state of Maranhão, he believes this is the case because of differences between Western academia and oral-based Aboriginal knowledge, “Sometimes I even ask myself ‘Damn… am I not good at anything? Is it?’ I’m not good at math, natural science, geography, chemistry… Everyone has to have something they’re good at? But, one day, the weather was fine, and I came across a map, Saw some people of my own race from other regions, and then I realized I had a complete map of Brazil with all the races and languages, and I stopped and thought, ‘Wow, I’ve got something I’m good at.'”

Júlio César Pereira de Freitas Güató, from the Guato [Guato means “black water chicken”], is the proponent of the “I am aboriginal, not a mixed race” campaign that promotes the self-declaration of aboriginal people One, expressed strong opposition to the “official statement that the indigenous population is less than 1 million”. He cites a recent mitochondrial DNA study that detected 34 percent of indigenous genes in Brazilians.

The Aboriginal movement is urging the Bureau of Statistics to re-examine the way it collects population data. Julio Guato said that many Aboriginal people “do not declare themselves Aboriginal because there is only public policy for blacks, fugitives and tans,” and failure to declare will not lead to the corresponding public policy. Julio Guato was born in Corumbá, Mato Grosso do Sul, lived in São Paulo for 25 years and is a Portuguese teacher, “We were born as aboriginal people, born with a mission of resistance. The city we were born in is also the city that has invaded our land. Everything is native and everything else is an invasion.”

Special thanks to

Huang Xingshan: I want to be a gust of wind, passing every sky

Zhou Xingyue: Small earthworms that loosen the soil everywhere.


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