Conference debates Indian policy

11/04/2006 - 12h56

Keite Camacho
Reporter - Agência Brasil

Brasília - At the National Conference of Indigenous Peoples, approximately 800 Indian representatives from 225 ethnic groups will attend floor sessions and present reports that will serve as a basis for the elaboration of an Indianist policy. The conference will last for seven days.

For the president of the National Indian Foundation (FUNAI), Mércio Pereira Gomes, the conference may give birth to the foundations of an indigenous parliament. "It would be a place for Indians to debate as representatives of their nations, not as associations. They would be representatives elected by their communities to discuss the development and the future of Indianist policies," he observed. .

The conference gets underway tomorrow (12) and ends on April 19, in Brasília. The topics to be discussed include cultural and political autonomy, tutelage and the self-determination of nations, and the issue of territories and the process of their demarcation. According to Gomes, they will also debate whether they want the FUNAI to continue to be in charge of indigenous peoples.

He recalled that Brazil has 450 thousand Indians at present and that 300 thousand of them are voters. "They vote and receive votes," he pointed out.

Translation: David Silberstein