Indigenous people, racism and ant-racism in Brazil
Cecilia McCallum (UFBA - Universidade Federal da Bahia)
Paper short abstract:
The paper explores non-indigenous understandings about indigenous peoples, natural resources and modernization in Brazil, based on analysis of schoolteachers’ and journalists’ discourses about infrastructural development.
Paper long abstract:
As a means of combatting racism, Brazilian lawmakers adopted a multiculturalist approach to remaking the national curriculum in the 21rst century. A 2007 law decreed that schools must to include classes on indigenous peoples, societies and culture. However, in Bahia state, echoing discourses about ‘indians’ in the media, schoolteachers continue to foster stereotypes and misinformation about indigenous peoples and their relation to ‘national natural resources’. The paper explores recent ethnography of teachers’ discourses and practices concerning this topic, in the light of analysis of stories about indigenous peoples and land conflicts in the media. It focuses specifically on the relationships journalists and teachers establish between notions of modernization, development and progress, on the one hand, and the nation´s natural resources on the other. Thus it analyses contemporary understandings about the construction of infrastructure projects such as dams and about government policies fostering the occupation of indigenous land by energy companies, agribusinesses and other ‘agents of modernization’.
Thinking otherwise at the extractive frontier: conflict, negotiation, translation, and a more equitable conversation