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University of Colorado at Boulder

Publication Date

Fall 2010

Program Name

Brazil: Social Justice and Sustainable Development


This research explores the recent methods by which the Pitaguary Indians in Ceará, Brazil have been reconstructing and revalorizing their indigenous culture using outside resources. Like many Indian populations within the Latin America, the Pitaguary have lost their culture due to conquest, exploitation, and assimilation policies. Only in 1997 did the Pitaguary file for governmental recognition and territorial demarcation[1] as an indigenous group. Since the mid-1990s, the tribe has been engaged in ‘rescuing’ and rediscovering their traditions and their culture. Three years ago, in 2007, an organization called Movimento Saude Mental Comunidade do Bom Jardim[2] came to the Pitaguary through an Italian Catholic priest named Padre Ottorino ‘Rino’ Bonvini. Through Padre Rino, the Pitaguary have come into contact with the Lakota Sioux of North Dakota, United States of America. The relationship that has grown between the two tribes has had a domino effect on how the Pitaguary are reconstructing their heritage. With new perspectives and new financial backing, the Pitaguary have expanded their abilities to scholastically and culturally educate their children in the hopes for a better future as an indigenous tribe.

[1] Territorial demarcation implies that via FUNAI (see below) the government will create territorial boundaries for indigenous lands. Demarcated tribes also come under the regulations and guardianship of FUNAI.

[2] Mental Health Movement: Community of the Good Garden


Civic and Community Engagement | Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Ethnicity in Communication | Inequality and Stratification | Race, Ethnicity and Post-Colonial Studies | Social and Cultural Anthropology | Sociology of Culture



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