DER Documentary

The First Contacts

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From the Indians in Brazil series in the Video in the Villages collection
By Vincent Carelli
color, 19 min, 2000

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With the colonization of Brazil's mid-West in the 1950s and the construction of the Transamazônica and other highways in the 1970s, whites began to make large-scale contact with Indians, with disastrous results. Epidemics decimated populations of groups such as the Cinta-Larga, with the deaths amounting in some cases to veritable genocide. Groups of Indians were separated from relatives, their land parceled out to settlers under the auspices a colonial mythology that advocated "progress" over the rights of indigenous people.

Archive footage shows the "pacification" of the Xavantes People, the Cinta Larga People in Rondônia, and the Parakanas in the south of Pará, and how this catastrophic contact decimated these populations. Even into the year 2000, a FUNAI crew works to find small, still-isolated groups that might be under threat from farmers and prospectors. In this video, the last survivor of an annihilated people refuses to make contact.

other films from the Indians in Brazil series:
Who Are They?
Our Languages
Have a Nice Trip, Ibantu!
When God Visits the Village
A Different Story
Our Territory
Children of the Land
From the Other Side of the Sky
Our Rights

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