by Magda Pucci
In Rio de Janeiro the first Museum of Brazilian Indigenous Peoples – Aldeia Maracanã is the popular name – will be demolished in order to make a parking area close to Maracanã Football Stadium for the World Cup 2014. Sergio Cabral, governor of Rio de Janeiro, justifies this as being a requirement of FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) and the Local Organizing Committee (LOC). The FIFA is denying this (BBC News).
The Aldeira Maracanã is the first Indian Museum (SPI) created by Marechal Rondon in the 1930s and in 1953 transformed by anthropologist Darcy Ribeiro in the Indigenous Museum. The Governor doesn’t value the building historically nor culturally (Copa), while the National State Heritage (INEPAC) has recommended not demolishing it. Before being a museum, the house (built in 1862) was a palace of a princess during the colonial times, which would a good argument for the place to be preserved.
Nowadays, once the museum had moved to another building, a group of indigenous peoples occupied the area, although the place is completely damaged. The Governor want to send the indigenous, who are living there, to an old presidium, showing a great disrespect and insensitivity to the indigenous situation.
Important musicians like Chico Buarque, Caetano Veloso, Milton Nascimento criticized the decision of the government (Jornal do Brasil). More than 10.000 signatures had been collected to preserve the Aldeia Maracanã.
After many protests, the Governor decided to transform the old building into a Museum for the Cup! Still, he shows insensibility about the indigenous culture and the peoples who are living there.
Leticia Sabatella, an important TV and cinema actress, visited Aldeia Maracanã in January to show her indignation about this situation. She was welcomed with flute and dance by a Tukano man, one of the leaders of the protests against Aldeia Maracanã´s demolition
Here you can support and sign the petition: O Brasil quer salvar o museo de índio do Brasil
Here is a link to pictures of the situation at the Aldeia Maracanã.