Day of the Indigenous To Be / Dia do Indígena Ser

The 3 Races, Belmonte, 1930

Today, throughout Latin America we celebrate the Day of the American Indian. The following is the translation of a text published today by Leonardo Sakamoto, journalist and human rights activist, who blogs at Blog do Sakamoto. The links on the text will redirect you to articles in portuguese, without translation. It is a shame as this is a blog that points the finger at the injustices committed against people of color in Brazil, which don’t make national news very often, let alone international headlines.


A white child painted like an Indian in a middle class school is cool. An indigenous child expropriated and asking for money in the traffic light is kitsch. An Indian is only cute when wrapped for consumption.

Today, the 19th of April, is the Day of the Indigenous. A good date to remember which society is in fact composed by savages. Let’s celebrate:

Day of the Indigenous to become slave in a sugar cane farm in the State of Mato Grosso do Sul.

Day of the Indigenous to be convinced that he needs to sacrifice a fee for the PAC (Programa de Ação de Crescimento = Growing Action Program) and not to question eviction orders in the name of electrical dams based on fake environmental impact studies.

Day of the Indigenous to set up a cloth barrack by the road because he was evicted from his territory by a land grabber.

Day of the Indigenous to see his kids badly fed because the area where his people could produce food was given to a landowner who was a friend of the king.

Day of the Indigenous to be set on fire in a bus stop because he was believed to be a homeless person.

Day of the Indigenous to be called lazy.

Day of the Indigenous to ignore the right over his territory because he doesn’t produce to export.

Day of the Indigenous woman to be denied the body of her sons murdered in land conflicts because the state doesn’t do its job.

Day of the Indigenous to become part of an exhibition in the country’s largest city’s Zoo as if he was an animal.

Day of the Indigenous to be represented as a plague in an outdoor seen in the southern part of Bahia state, because he stands in the way of progress.

Day of the Indigenous to be beaten in Bolivia, Paraguay, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Chile, Argentina, Venezuela, just because he’s an Indian.

Day of the Indigenous to cause fear in a TV actress who thinks that fake property rights are above everything.

Day of the Indigenous to understand that the invasion of our borders is imminent and therefore he needs to abandon his land to make way for private properties.

Day of the Indigenous to be inflicted prejudice for his almond-like eyes, his brown skin, his culture, his beliefs and his traditions.

Summing up, Day of the Indigenous to remember who’s the boss and who’s to obey, and to stop with silly protests that pop up here and there. Or are we, good willing men, going to need another 511 years to catechesize and domesticate those people?


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