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To help Indigenous people in Brazil, let’s challenge our own violence

Updated: Nov 30, 2021

Rather than looking to ‘save’ others, we should aim to dismantle the hatred and exploitation of those who reject property and national borders.

It is commonplace in Brazil for people or institutions to make a symbolic gesture towards an Indigenous community, and then frame it as a major advance for their rights. One familiar example, for instance, is a museum paying Indigenous people to build a traditional structure of theirs on its site. Or, a person showing up at an Indigenous settlement and saying hello, taking school kids to visit, or buying jewellery from communities – as if any of these things were a major political statement. They’re not. They’re basic decency, like paying for goods and services, or treating someone else as a human being.

Written by Mirna Wabi-Sabi

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