Yesterday was the premiere of the movie Ex-Pajé (Ex-Shaman) in the Berlinale. This movie about the Surui Paiter folk denounced an ongoing ethnocide.

It beautifully starts with 1969 aerial footage from Jorge Bodanzky, showing the lands of the Surui at the time of their first contact. Throughout the movie we learn about the ethnocide the Surui are suffering. Note: genocide is when a race is killed while ethnocide is when a culture is killed. The main reason for it nowadays is the intervention from fundamentalist churches in Brazil.

After the movie there was a Q&A session where we from Meta Mate asked Ubiratã Surui, one of the activists in the movie, how he sees the work of Metareilá, the cooperative promoting their crafts. He told the audience that it was important for the Surui that the film shows the assimilation of production practices for trade as a way of surviving and adapting to the world of the “white” folk. By producing artifacts or coffee the Suruis have a way to get money necessary to buy what they do not get from the forest.

This intervention from the Metareilá can be differentiated from the intervention of the church, in that the second kills their culture, while the first gives them a chance to survive.

Surui activist Ubiratan Surui receives a Club Mate from Meta Mate at the premiere of the film, along with his mother who was at the cinema for the first time in her life.

At the closing of the evening we from Meta Mate gave the directors, Luiz Bolognesi, a bottle of the “anti-fascist” Kolle-Mate from Dresden, Laiz Bodanzky, the “healthy urban” Berliner-Mätchen, and Ubiratã Surui a bottle of the “alternative” Club-Mate, the favorite drink for the German Hacker and Club community.

Mate, originally consumed by the native inhabitants of the Altantic Rainforests, became a successful instrument of cultural resistance over the centuries. Note that the first contact with these folk were made in the 17th century, long before that of the Surui. Paraphrasing Professor Catafesto in the film Carijo, Mate is a Guarani anthropofagic infiltration the “white” folk culture, first with a substance, then with its spirit of celebrating life and communication.

As Marshall McLuhan put well “The Medium is the Message“: The Ex-Paje Movie is a protest film uses the white man medium of cinema. The Quechua Mate or Guarani Caá either in bottles or in its traditional form is a persistent infiltration of the native South American folks into the “white” culture. When the Japanese tourist puts on the cowboy hat and drinks a coca-cola, he becomes what he drinks. When a generation of Germans drink mate , (with the market having more than 30 brands today), each one carries its own statement. In this way mate is a medium of the native folk transcending into an urban culture. We greet and support the survival of the ancient Guarani culture through tnew and traditional ways in our colorful civilization.

It is valid to add the work from the Kanindé association , and Metareila to find ways to value and preserve the uniqueness of the Surui Paiter Culture.  We wish that this movie will bring to light the importance of giving a chance to the ethno-environmental space of the Surui.

Below is a Manifesto in English given by leaders and shaman in support of this movie’s mission:

Links:

Indigenous People from Brazil Manifest

More Shamans, less intolerance

More Shamans, more Sky, more Spirits, more Forest, more Life. Less hate. Less intolerance. Less racism. We must overcome our inability of living in harmony and equality in our differences and start learning to share the world with other living beings, living, seeing and recognizing each other in our gaze, with reciprocity, respect for humans and respect for non-human beings too, side by side, living together in our differences. There is only one planet, and we can all live in it, free from the burden of racism and sexism. There are many worlds that coexist in the different ways of inhabiting this planet.

For many centuries, the shamans have brought equilibrium to life on Earth. With their songs, prayers, cures and wisdom, they massage the Planet with beautiful words, the most beautiful sacred words. They are medics, priests and healers, carrying the wisdom of the world, with their own sciences and philosophy.

In the name of a god, missionary men assaulted many other forms of life in the last centuries. In the 1970s the Church itself admitted that violence was practiced in their catechist conversions and this practice has not subsided. Today we witness the emergence of new crusades of intolerance, especially by Protestant and Evangelical missions. They align with the enemies of the indigenous peoples, illegal and legal miners and loggers, in order to extract not only precious elements from their lands but also from their souls. Ethnocide aims to empty all bodies of their spirituality. Genocide kills people in their physical bodies and ethnocide in their spirit, their essence, their way of living, their culture.

Some interpret the Bible messages as orders to invade the whole world and forcibly preach the gospel to all creatures, understanding that whoever does not convert will burn in the hell that their very religion has invented. This colonial attitude still provokes today, perhaps as never before, a dispute for souls that hides behind power, money, control over territories, a true market of souls.

Today we are going through many crises; environmental, economic, political and the indigenous territories are being invaded and looted. Along with iron and fire, comes abusive and racist conversion practices. They exchange healing prayers for bible verses and medicinal remedies for aspirin. Epidemics of depression has seen the world’s highest suicide rates, staining the beautiful forests of Brazil with blood.

The spirits of the forest are angry, crying for help, as for every tree felled, every polluted river, they come closer to extinction. So a wise shaman once said, the forest is a crystalline portal, and all of us humans need it. If the forest is gone, so will our spirit. The shamans must exist, and to exist, they must be respected. Before it is too late and the world be emptied of its spirituality and Skies may fall upon our heads!
Enough ethnocide! More Shamans! Less intolerances!

Sign:
Organizations
Associação dos Povos Indígenas do Brasil – APIB / Indigenous People Brazilian Association – APIB
Associação
Coordenação das Organizações Indígenas da Amazônia Brasileira -COIAB / Indigenous Coordination of Brazilian Amazon – COIAB
Associação Aty Guassu Guarani Kayowá/ Aty Guassu Guarani Kayowá Association
Comissão Yvy RupA/ Yvy Rupa Comission
Conselho dos Povos Indígenas de São Paulo -CEPISP / São Paulo Indigenous People Council – CEPISP
Federação do Povo Huni Kuî do Acre – FEPHAC / Huni Kuî People Federation, from Acre – FEPHAC
Instituto Maracá / Maracá Institut
Fórum dos professores indígenas do Estado de São Paulo, FAPISP / Indigenous Teachers Fórum of São Paulo, FAPISP
Organização Nhandepa Guarani e Huni Kuî / Nhandepa Organization Guarani and Huni Kuî
Rádio Yande/ Yande Indigenous Radio
Rede de Memória e Museologia Indígena / Memory and Museum Indigenous Net
ARPIN Sul / ARPIN South
ARPIN Sudeste / Southeast ARPIN
APOINME
FEPIPA

Indigenous Leaders:
Aílton Krenak
Álvaro Tukano
Alberto Terenao
Chicão Terena
Davi Yanomami Kopenawa
Daiara Tukano
Denilson Baniwa
Dinaman Tuxá
Ninawa Huni Kuî
Nara Baré
Carlos Papá Mirim Poty
Cristiane Tekuá
Genito Gomes Kayowá
Marcos Tupã
Antonio Carvalho
Júlio Garcia Karai Xiju
Nelson Ribeiro
Marcos Moreira
Mauricio da Silva Gonçalves
Sama Hani Kuî
Sônia Guajajara
Banima Hani Kuí
Davi Popygua
Joana Munduruku
Benício Pitaguary
Paulo Karai
Rosa Pitaguary

 

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