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Chief Raoni: "Without knowing it, the Minister of Justice joins ‘The Dance Of The Ill Man”

Chief Raoni:

Brazilian Minister of Justice José Eduardo Cardozo with Chief Raoni Metuktire / ELZA FIÚZA/ABR

Source :
Some advisers of the Brazilian Minister of Justice, Eduardo Cardozo, declared that he had been informed of his participation in the ‘Warrior's dance’. Being on a war footing against the politicians, the Xavante people were successful in making the Minister join ‘The Dance Of The Ill Man’. The performance of Cardozo, who was gesticulating with his hands in a disco-style, occurred yesterday in the late morning following a Ceremony for Brazilian Indian Day in the Ministry of Justice, when some leaders complained about the government inaction regarding the defense of the aldeias (villages in indigenous land) and accused the federal police of killing and disrespecting the indigenous people.

The government's advisers explained that this performance was actually the ‘Warrior's Dance’. Chief Arimatéia Xavante gave a different version: "It is ‘The Healing Dance’. When someone is ill in the village, we make this person join the dance. Actually it is ‘The Dance Of The Ill Man’. The Minister has been questioned in an interview in order to find out if he had a health problem or if the government was the one who was ill. Cardozo said he received information indicating that the meaning of the dance was different. "We are faced with all the ills affecting the indigenous peoples. At least, that is the meaning the indigenous people gave me." he said.

Ministers Izabella Teixeira (Environment) and Maria do Rosário (Human Rights) avoided participating in the ‘little dance’. Yet, at first they did not escape the numerous criticisms and claims. Chief Raoni Metuktire, chief of the Txucarramãe (Mebengokre / Kayapo), complained about the federal police and National Force. "Minister Cardozo must tell the federal police and the National Force not to kill my people. I do not like it." Raoni declared.

Chief Raoni was referring to the murder of the indigenous Adenilson Kirixi Munduruku committed by the federal police during Operation Eldorado in Teles Pires aldeia, located between the borders of Pará States and Mato Grosso. The operation has been launched to fight against illegal mining. Ministers Maria do Rosario and José Eduardo Cardozo declared that they disagreed with the violent actions committed against the aldeias. The Minister of Justice announced, with no direct reference to Adenilson's case, that the indigenous people are being manipulated by criminal organisations which are operating in mining regions.

Cardozo declared that he did not accept the opinion of people claiming that Lula's and Dilma's governments have never been committed to the indigenous cause. That was an answer to Chief Damião Paridzané from the xavante ethnic group who requested, during the ceremony, to maintain the National Indian Foundation (FUNAI) and asked for a "position" against the ruralist parliamentary group of the Congress.


Brazil celebrates Indian Day on 19 April. The government, which faces a period of tension with the indigenous communities, organised a ceremony which ended up being used for new events.

© / translation by Wendy Labadie (thank you to Lizzie Cornish)

Date : 20/04/2013