Elisa Bignante

University of Torino
Torino, Italy

Back from Brazil

Field Report n°7

January 9, 2013

Sarah Natoli and Valeria Burdizzo won a two months scholarship financed by the University of Turin to work with ECAM in Brazil. Their adventure in Brazil is now over…

The principal interlocutors for our research were the indigenous association representatives who live in Macapà. At the beginning the only contact was the indigenous association APITIKATXI, partner of the COBRA project and of ECAM, Equipe de Conservação da Amazonia, another partner. However, through some information collected and the contacts built on the ground within the ECAM in Macapà, it was possible to know a wider and really deep-rooted associative context present in the State of Amapà. For this reason we had chosen to investigate more in details the indigenous associative panorama and the indigenous representation system of Amapà and North Parà, taking advantage of our stay in Macapà and of the contacts with ECAM.

The research has been developed following different steps: collecting documents, carrying on semi-structured interviews, elaborating data and analysing strengths and weaknesses of the associations and organizations. The research plan was elaborated following three levels of investigation:

1- ECAM, partner of the COBRA project: history, relationships with political and national institutions with regards to Brazilian indigenous law, relationships with local populations and indigenous associations, relation with the COBRA project, projects developed and ongoing, SWOT analysis.

2- Indigenous populations and associations in the State of Amapà and North Parà: analyzing territorial context, associations’ history, projects, activities, relationships with indigenous communities, other associations, NGOs, national institutions and international partners, difficulties and future opportunities.

3- Tradition and Modernity in the indigenous Lands of Amapà and North Parà:
Focus 1: current indigenous issues. Analyzing problems of Indigenous communities considering which traditional practices continue to survive and how they are developing and adapting in front of the contact with modern innovations.
Focus 2: relations between new information and communication technologies and indigenous people, evaluating their impact and their use, analysis of projects developed, difficulties and opportunities.

Both in Brasilia and in Macapà, we collected some basic information about the context, indispensible to understand the local reality, localizing in this way the indigenous populations, their associations and projects; to planning logistic transfers and to conceive some precise and specific questions for the interviews. The documents collected are: report and other documentation provided by ECAM, indigenous lands maps, narratives about indigenous law, ECAM publications about its methodology and its projects carried out in partnership with indigenous associations.

In Brasilia it was possible to know the general context of indigenous reality in Brazilian Amazon, while in Macapà the research ground was focalised on Amapà and North Parà with the aim of constructing a picture of all Indigenous Lands of that region considering the different communities and their associations.

The research and the considerations above are worked out considering a specific theme of investigation focused on the relationship between traditional territorial practices and modern society, with the objective of indentifying the construction of new types of territoriality resulting from the integration and the encounter between indigenous and non indigenous cultures.

Sarah and Valeria



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