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Spirituality, annatto and genipap: fighting tools to settle politics

The Terra Livre Camp, which for 18 years has marked the political history of indigenous peoples in Brazil, painted Brasília with Jenipapo and Urucum once again this year, and for me, an activist for climate justice, to closely follow the ATL in a crucial election year for the environmental issues in Brazil, was a milestone.

Village politics and make it more participatory and diverse was the most echoed message in those days, accompanied by the reminder that it is necessary to take back Brazil and guarantee the rights of those who occupy this land long before the historical colonialist waves that we know marked this ground of blood . 

However, as there is no fight without dancing, the colors of the headdresses and the beauty of the graphics scattered around the camp allowed me to discover a Brazil that most Brazilians do not know, the Brazil of the headdress that came before the Brazil of the crown. A country of more than 300 people and 274 languages.

Like Brazil, indigenous peoples are diverse and have different ways of presenting their beliefs and spiritualities. Before marching, the strength of the songs makes the earth tremble, the ancestral rituals strengthen and keep those who resist on their feet.

I heard some reports and I understood that faith also has different ways of showing itself present, some Yanomani women are evangelicals and a young Amazonian guardian says that the clothes and shoes he wears are fruits of colonization, but the Faith he carries in your heart does not. 

While the plenary sessions were taking place, the Guarany youth sang, the Kayapó women painted and the children ran around in the dry land that had always been theirs. Fighting is listening to the elders who came before and acting with the youths who occupy the now. “I have never seen so many young people in this camp”, said the most experienced. 

The desire to fight is an ancestral knowledge to save the future and the present. 

Report of a non-indigenous woman during the 2022 Terra Livre Camp, by Karina Penha.