Today we visited the Museum of the Indian, one of the most beautiful and modern museums I've seen in Rio. There were two exhibits housed in a mansion from the 1880s, just blocks from our apartment (maybe 8ish). There was also a cool gift shop with crafts made by Indians from all over Brazil (I bought this hollowed out coconut purse thing for our living room fr R$4). The outdoor exhibit featured a model of an Amazon indigenous home and of a ritual site. And on Sundays, admission is free!
So, the first exhibit was called "Tradition and New Technologies of Memory," about the Kuikuro Indians of the southern Amazon. There were 11 videos and 100 gorgeous photographs, focusing on traditions, how they live, and a really interesting part about learning the indigenous language and preserving language and tradition. This tribe has books made in its own language to teach kids the language, and they also learn Portuguese. We were told we could use our camera so we did! You can see all the photos in my new album on the main page, and later I'll put a video of a video of one of the traditional dances.
The second exhibit was called "The Presence of the Invisible: The Everyday life and Rituals of the Indigenous Tribes of Oiapoque." It featured hundreds of artifacts from indigenous communities in the state of Amapa, the northern state of Brazil that borders French Guyana. I used to think the Indians only lived in the Amazon, but I thought wrong! There are thousands of indigenous people living in Amapa, with different traditions and customs than that of the Amazon Indians. They had a great diorama of a festival ground that you could walk in, with a sky of stars that changed colors. They had videos, photographs, and all sorts of artifacts like jewelry, bowls, sculptures, and common objects. The videos showed them preparing for festivals and making mandioca flour is enormous enormous vats. That exhibit also had free brochures, beautiful photograph guides with textured photographs and pictures (The museum gets funding from several government agencies and is a part of FUNAI, the government agency responsible for the protection of the Brazilian indigenous people, so lots of money goes into this museum). Unfortunately, all of the signage is only in Portuguese so international visitors will need a guide.
According to the Museum website, there are about 315,000 indigenous people living in Brazil, making up 206 ethnic groups spread out in 562 indigenous territories. The largest ethnic groups are the Guarani, Ticuna, Kaingang, Macuxi, Guajara, and Yanomami. While many practice indigenous spiritist religions, some are Catholic too.
Ok kids I am EXHAUSTED so check out the pictures and more of the Me Leva Brazil crazy stories this week!