Indians Get a Stronger Voice on Brazil’s Politics

    In an interview with National AM Radio, professor PatrÀ­cia Melo, who teaches history at the University of Amazonas, emphasized the increased political participation of Indians.

    “The indigenous movement has provided important lessons, and the growth in Indian candidacies signals some significant experiences. I think that the so-called white society could learn a lot from this,” the professor observed.


    The president of the National Indian Foundation (Funai), Mércio Pereira Gomes, went so far as to assert that this year’s elections constitute an historical milestone in terms of Indians’ participation in politics.


    In the state of São Paulo, for example, Paulo Roberto Sebastião, an Indian from the Araribá community, was elected to the city council in the municipality of Havaí­, with 165 votes.


    According to Melo, the Indian population always practiced high quality politics but never had representatives on municipal councils.


    “Participation by the indigenous population in local administration management models is historic; it is not a recent phenomenon. Since the 17th and 18th centuries, Indians have participated in the management of local affairs,” she said.


    The professor considers positive the growth in Indians’ political participation, but she remarks that prejudices still exist.


    “What is important to note is that we are dealing with the state, which needs to recognize the great ethnic diversity that exists here, and that our legal, judicial, political, and administrative structures must necessarily reflect this diversity and, most of all, the respect for differences,” she observed.


    Agência Brasil

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