Indigenous people make ritual for arrest of shamanistic River former governor

Rio de Janeiro-Indians and firefighters celebrate arrest of Sergio Cabral, Governor of Rio in front of the headquarters of the Federal Police (Tania Rego/agency Brazil)

The arrest of former governor Sérgio Cabral was celebrated this Thursday (Nov. 17) in Rio by indigenous people with the shamanistic ritual, known as "shamanism," performed in front of the Federal Police headquarters. Tania Rego/Brazil Agency

The arrest of former governor Sérgio Cabral was celebrated this Thursday (Nov. 17) in Rio by indigenous people with the shamanistic ritual, known as shamanism, performed in front of the Federal Police headquarters. They danced, played round rattles, and pointed out that Cabral was responsible for their expulsion from the old Indian Museum, [Indigenous People Museum]the historic building they occupied beside the Maracanã Stadium, during the works for Rio 2016. Cabral was arrested this Thursday morning at the new phase of Operation Car Wash, which probes into federal money embezzled in works of Rio's government.

When the museum was emptied, in 2013, indigenous people were forcibly removed by the shock troops of the Military Police, which caused an uprising and left many people harmed. On the day they were expelled, indigenous people have warned the governor that he had disturbed their ancestors, which "was not a good sign."

"Of course he shouldn't have messed with our ancestors. He had not listened to us. Neither he, nor Roussef[Rousseff]f. They have fallen one after the other. With much respect and great faith, we asked for our ancestors ' help. Indigenous peoples do not separate spirituality from politics. If we are hit and humiliated, our ancestors are there to defend us. We made bonfires, performed our rituals so that we would be avenged by our ancestors, "said Michael Oliveira, member of the Baré-Mawé people from Amazonas, who is currently professor and historian at the State University of Rio de Janeiro (UERJ).

According to him, the building where the old museum worked has a great historical importance.

"There, in the palace, all the indigenous peoples ' quarrels were settled. There are even reports of deaths that happened there. Several chiefs and morubixabas [which are leaders of indigenous groups]from all over Brazil went there to talk with Marshal Cândido Rondon [creator of Brazil’s Indian Protection System]and Professor Darcy Ribeiro. It is a place of material and immaterial memory from several indigenous peoples, "noted.

Translated by Amaryllis Anchieta

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