Estudos Indígenas


Ultrapassamos o ano 2000 e o Brasil ainda ignora a imensa sociodiversidade nativa contemporânea de seus povos indígenas. Viciados em ver a história do ponto de vista dos invasores, não nos damos conta de que os valores deste país não são apenas as minerações, o extrativismo, o latifúndio, a pecuária, a industrialização, a expansão urbana, as ferrovias, as rodovias, as universidades…

O imperialismo expansionista tem proporcionado, ao longo desses últimos 500 anos do descobrimento português, um esmagamento cultural nas terras brasileiras que haverá de culminar com a total extinção dos povos indígenas do Brasil.

Os Karajás


Foto: Franca Vilarinho

Estudos de raça e linguagem mostram que os Karajás se dividem em três grupos: os Xambioá, os Javaé e os Karajás propriamente ditos. Estes três grupos formam uma família lingüística pertencente ao tronco Macro-jê, que engloba os índios Kadiwéu, Assurini, Waurá, Parakanã e os Karajás.

O território ocupado pelos povos do tronco Macro-jê localiza-se em regiões de campos cerrados que vão do sul do Maranhão e Pará até o Oeste do Rio Grande do Sul, passando por Tocantins, Goiás, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, oeste de São Paulo, Paraná e Santa Catarina. A família dos Karajás (Xambioá, Javaé e Karajás), com uma população estimada de 2.450 índios, habita áreas existentes nos estados do Mato Grosso do Sul, Mato Grosso, Tocantins e Goiás. São populações ribeirinhas que vivem às margens dos rios Tocantins e Araguaia.


Foto: Franca Vilarinho

A intenção desta matéria é relatar a atual situação do grupo Karajás composto por 93 membros divididos em 12 unidades familiares, habitantes de terras localizadas na periferia da cidade goiana de Aruanã, às margens do ria Araguaia.

Aruanã, 2002

Ali se vê ao vivo cenas de um conflito centenário que tem hoje de um lado 93 índios Karajás entre homens, mulheres e crianças que querem demarcadas e protegidas suas áreas, sob o forte argumento de que a terra é de seu uso há mais de 800 anos. De outro lado autoridades locais, fazendeiros e agricultores das vazantes (vazanteiros), com todo seu poder de fogo e persuasão. Além destes, milhares de turistas que a cada ano passam por aí promovendo caça e pesca predatórias e a poluição.

Para entender o que significa a demarcação e proteção destas áreas que garantiriam o habitat natural e sustentável dos índios é necessário entender o seu modo de vida. Trata-se de um povo ribeirinho, tradicionalmente pescador. Construíam aldeias temporárias ao longo das praias do rio Araguaia, incluindo a casa de Aruanã (casa das máscaras). Ali realizavam a dança de Aruanã, um dos ritos mais importantes de sua cultura. Seus ritos de adoração ao povo do céu (que lhes ensinou a plantar) e ao povo do fundo das águas (que lhes ensinou a pescar) representam a rede de relações sociais e ambientais que compõem o território dos Karajás.

Este território inclui três tipos de ambiente: as porções das margens do Araguaia, onde existem as aldeias de moradia; os capões de mato mais para o interior, onde caçam e fazem seus cultivos de caráter permanente (mandioca, banana, cará e fruteiras em geral); os terrenos férteis das vazantes, utilizados para cultivos tradicionais temporários (abóbora, melancia, arroz, feijão, milho…). Todos estes ambientes são necessários à sua sobrevivência. Há séculos praticam neles a caça, a pesca, a agricultura e o artesanato.

Ocorre que parte destas áreas se encontra invadida por 11 vazanteiros de Aruanã que fazem deste cultivo o complemento de suas atividades de funcionários municipais, empregados ou comerciantes locais, ou ainda profissionais autônomos. Dois grandes fazendeiros (um deles ex-prefeito da cidade) também reivindicam a área e nela criam seus bois, motivo de brigas com os vazanteiros e os Karajás. A cidade de Aruanã está implantada em meio à antiga área de moradia dos Karajás, estendendo-se também pelas áreas que eram de cultivo de capões. A caça e a pesca estão seriamente desfalcadas pela presença de 150 a 200 mil turistas que acampam anualmente nas praias do Araguaia.

Roteiro da decadência

Evidências arqueológicas identificadas por sua tradição em cerâmica indicam que os Karajás ocupam estas terras desde 1190. Através do bandeirante Manoel Rodrigues Ferreira, em 1613, tiveram seu primeiro contato com os europeus. Tomé Ribeiro, em 1658, e Gonçalo de Veras, em 1671, os localizaram ao longo do Araguaia.

Em 1774 foram mobilizados para a fundação da Vila Boena ao sul da Ilha do Bananal. Em 1782 o governo de Goiás transferiu cerca de 700 destes índios, à revelia dos mesmos, para São José de Moçamedes e outros povoados onde foram reduzindo sua população em diversas epidemias. Em 1850 fundou-se o presídio de Leopoldina, origem da atual cidade de Aruanã. Este presídio foi destruído duas vezes pelos Karajás, em 1853 e 1855. Em 1871 foi fundado o Colégio Santa Izabel onde, em 1876 estudavam, entre outros, 52 índios Karajás.

EEm 1959 o município de Aruanã emancipou-se ocorrendo titulação de terras para não-índios. Entre 1965 e 1970 foram vendidos lotes a quem interessasse, que incidiam sobre o já diminuto território dos Karajás. Antes, para a navegação de barcos a vapor, foi construído um ancoradouro sobre o cemitério dos índios, sendo os seus mortos removidos a trator para dentro do rio.

A opinião dos não-índios de Aruanã é de que os índios já não existem mais como raça. Porém, apesar do avançado estágio da desnutrição em que se encontram e apesar de não fazerem mais festas e oferendas, por falta de alimentos mesmo, eles praticam a agricultura, a caça e a pesca, como seus antepassados.

“A prostituição e o alcoolismo constatados atualmente entre os Karajás de Aruanã deve ser entendido no contesto desta perda de sentido cultural. A falta de providências quanto à regularização fundiária deste grupo arrisca resultar na expulsão definitiva dos Karajás da cidade que seus antepassados ajudaram a construir” alerta a antropóloga Ana Maria Costa, num parecer sobre o assunto publicado no Diário Oficial da União, em 10 de janeiro de 1995.

Novos tempos

Hoje a tradição vem sendo esquecida. O trabalho agora é preservar pelo menos a linguagem e o artesanato. Estão preocupados em passar informações a pesquisadores e interessados. Passaram para a escrita a história dos seus antepassados.


Foto: Franca Vilarinho

As crianças do grupo estão sendo motivadas a trabalhar com a pintura em madeira e cerâmica. Esta era uma atividade só das mulheres, porém agora está se tornando efetivamente uma fonte de renda. Serve para pagar a conta luz, da farmácia, do armazém…

A Assessoria de Comunicação da FUNAI informa que a área dos Karajás subdivide-se em três: Aruanã I (14,25 hectares, demarcada e com registro suspenso. Processo de desocupação na justiça); Aruanã II (893,26 hectares, demarcada, homologada, registrada em cartório – MT – e registrada no SPU – Serviço de Patrimônio da União); Aruanã III (705,17 hectares, demarcada, homologada, registrada em cartório – GO – e registrada no SPU). Apenas esta última já possui projeto com plantações de arroz, feijão, milho e árvores frutíferas. Recebem em breve 20 cabeças de gado para com a pecuária. A FUNAI mantém na área um Chefe de Posto, uma viatura e equipamentos agrícolas.

Para o Pajé Santxiê Tapuya, dos índios do cerrado, “a FUNAI precisa marcar presença mais efetiva na área. Implantar atividades produtivas, um sistema de auto-sustentabilidade com a flora brasileira. Que os índios produzam e venham oferecer seus produtos à sociedade brasileira que necessita muito dos nossos remédios. Isto já não ocorre porque no Brasil há uma política segregacionista, preconceituosa, que não permite integrar os índios nus, descalços, com flechas na mão, à sociedade brasileira. Agora, com as novas gerações, movimentos sociais organizados e ONG’s, advêm uma nova filosofia. Quem sabe isto possibilitará uma verdadeira integração cultural” conclui o Pajé.

publicado pela Multarte com a colaboração de:
Tatiana Lopes
Antônio Guimarães

Anúncios

bahia-brazil.png

From August 31 to September 2, around 300 young people from the Tupinambá, Pataxó Hã-Hã-Hãe, Pataxó and Tuxá (state of Bahia), Tupinikim (state of Espírito Santo) and Xukuru (state of Pernambuco) peoples gathered at the 3rd seminar of Tupinambá young people at Serra do Padeiro in the state of Bahia, Brazil.

 

The Tupinambá (also known as the Tupi) have recently begun strengthening their struggle, encouraging its young people to organize themselves.

 

Based on the theme “Organized Youth, Strengthened Community,” the youth naturally focused on matters of organization, aswell as topics like public policies and health issues.They also spent a great deal of time talking about the demarcation of indigenous Territory….

 

From Brazzil Mag – “The seminar was successful. Young people participated in it actively and contributed to discussions on topics related to the daily reality faced in the villages,” evaluated Magno Santos, a young Tupinambá, one of the event organizers.

 

As a result of this articulation, a committee made up of nine young people from three villages located in the south region of the state of Bahia was created.

 

The first activity of this committee will take place on September 21 at Monte Pascoal, when a “Letter of Young Indigenous People” will be drawn up to be sent to both state governments and to the federal government with proposals and claims from young people of the region.

 

One of the most discussed topics in the seminar and which will be included in the letter is the demarcation of the Tupinambá land.

 

“We decided that if Funai doesn’t solve this problem, indigenous young people will demarcate the territory themselves,” declared Magno.

 

Challenges faced by these young people today, such as pregnancy during adolescence, sexually transmitted diseases, and drug and alcohol abuse also drew the attention of the participants.

 

“We want the government to take a policy position in relation to these issues,” said the Tupinambá youth.

 

An important victory of the youth organization was a proposal to set up a committee of young indigenous people to join the Apoinme (Cooperation of Indigenous Peoples from the Northeast region, the state of Minas Gerais and the state of Espírito Santos.)

Representatives from Apoinme who were present at the seminar said that, from next year on, this committee will become part of the entity.

in  BrazzilMag

—By Andy Isaacson
Utne Reader September / October 2007 Issue

 

At an intertribal gathering of shamans held last spring deep in Amazonia’s northern fringe, a stout elder from Brazil’s Waura tribe offered an impassioned plea. “Please,” he urged fellow healers from Colombia and Suriname, “don’t let the medicine die.”

 

His appeal did not fall on deaf ears. In Kwamalasamutu, Suriname, where the shamans convened, an innovative model is leading the effort to preserve centuries of indigenous medicine by integrating traditional and Western practices into a thriving community health care system.

 

The cooperative nature of the effort is evident across the soccer field from where the shamans gathered. In a concrete building, a former missionary organization provides free primary health care, while next door, in a thatched-roof clinic, shamans wield medicines brewed from leaves, vines, and tree barks.

 

Five mornings a week, villagers trickle into the traditional clinic seeking remedies for a range of common complaints, from yeast infections to diarrhea. The shamans might look at the tendons of patients’ fingers or peer into their eyes before turning to the bottled elixirs they keep in a solar-powered freezer. Or the shamans might refer them to their neighbors for treatment.

 

So far, three other rural villages in southern Suriname have built similar clinics, replicating a cost-effective model for indigenous health care that’s been hailed by UNESCO and the World Bank and was one of 10 finalists this year for the prestigious Seed Award for innovation in local sustainable development.

 

The project was conceived by the Amazon Conservation Team (ACT), a Virginia-based organization that partners with tribes in Suriname, Colombia, and Brazil to preserve traditional rainforest culture as a means of saving the rainforest itself. In ACT’s view, those fates are intrinsically linked: If the value indigenous cultures place on their ancestral land, culture, and resources erodes, so too might their will to steward the forest.

 

When ACT’s founder, Mark Plotkin, first visited Kwamalasamutu in the early 1980s, shamanism was in remission. Missionary trailblazers had collectivized several dispersed tribes into one village, under God. Gym shorts replaced breechcloths. American evangelicals’ pills displaced faith in traditional medicine, and many shamans publicly renounced their practices.

 

Plotkin, then a Harvard researcher studying indigenous healing, spoke with the shamans and explained to the tribes that many of the white man’s medicines were derived from plants within their own forest. (The World Health Organization, or WHO, estimates that one-quarter of modern medicines are made from plants that were first used traditionally.) In 1988, after several visits, Plotkin presented a 300-page manuscript to the villagers’ chief that inscribed, for the first time, generations of medicinal knowledge. Holding the only book to have been written in the Trio language other than a translated Bible, the chief pledged to pass its contents on to future generations.

 

To institutionalize that effort, Plotkin helped the village create a shamans and apprentices program with stipends from ACT. Today, a hierarchy of senior and junior shamans oversees a handful of younger apprentices who shadow elder healers in the clinic and on trips into the forest to collect plants. Twice a week, schoolchildren gather next door to the clinic for lessons on plants and handicrafts.

 

The revival of traditional healing practices comes as cutbacks in government subsidies and spiraling costs have limited the reach of primary health care in Suriname’s rural interior. Operating symbiotically, the two clinics have helped to fill the gap. Joint workshops inform the Western-trained caregivers about indigenous concepts of illnesses, and shamans learn about preventive health practices. They often refer patients to each other. For instance, villagers who show up at the Western clinic suffering from the parasitic disease leishmaniasis will be sent next door to the shamans for an ointment that’s more effective than any modern tincture.

 

“It’s not some mash-up where you’ve got shamans handing out antibiotics,” says Plotkin. “It gives [locals] a lot more free choice than I have with my health plan and has demonstrably reduced the expense for outside medicine by 20 to 50 percent.”

 

The clinics’ practices are also helping in a larger effort, pushed by the WHO, to develop stronger evidence of traditional medicine’s quality, safety, and efficacy. The clinics in Suriname have begun keeping records, and pharmacists there have introduced shamans to standardized measurement methods for collecting, preparing, and storing their medicines–efforts that will shed light on their efficacy and facilitate the production of medicines. They’re now experimenting with more user-friendly (and potentially marketable) forms, such as a dry tea bag.

 

Ultimately, though, the broader intention of the program, explains Plotkin, is for tribes to find their own answers to some pressing questions: “How do we interface with Western science? What are we willing to share? . . . And how do we take an approach that benefits our culture, our forests, and, in the end, everybody?”

Kaiowa Indians in Mato Grosso do Sul The genocide that occurs in a continuous and silent manner in Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil, against the Kaiowá people is a reality constantly denounced by indigenous leaders, by representatives of movements in defense of human rights, by popular militants, by Indigenist supporters working in that region.

 

Repeatedly, the lines of communication present a cruel situation lived by Kaiowá communities, noting assassinations, deaths by malnutrition, suicides, aggressions of all orders.

 

How is it possible we wonder, that in the present day, a people are confined and condemned to death through absolute omission by the State and by lack of political initiative that assures their lands, as this right is made explicit in Brazilian legislation?

 

The Kaiowá population exceeds 30,000 people, the majority of whom live confined to small reserves or camps at the sides of roads and the edges of large cattle ranches , soy and / or sugar cane plantations.

 

And the most serious occurs in the reserve of Dourados, with less than 3,000 hectares, where there lives a population over 13,000 inhabitants, an inconceivable reality that resembles concentration camps.

 

In this reserve they are submitted to a systematic, quotidian violence that effects the social relations and the most elementary rights of human life. There are numerous assassinations, beating, alcoholism, drug traffic, malnutrition, impossibility of sustainability and starvation, the most cruel of all violence.

 

The indigenous families survive in this area in subhuman conditions, without land, without adequate and differentiated assistance, without the protection of the State and consequently without perspectives of the future.

 

The indigenous lands, that need to be demarcated in order to assure conditions for the physical and cultural survival of this people, are the object of negotiations of the federal government with the local and regional oligarchs.

 

A consequence of this is the disrespect to the Federal Constitution, to the international treaties and accords – such as the ILO Convention 169, to the Declaration of Human Rights and to the Indigenist legislation that determines that the lands of the Indigenous peoples are assured to make possible the dignity of the individual, the living of their cultures, customs, traditions and style of life.

 

But, the priorities assumed by federal and state governments privileging large investments, large profits, large businesses, result in the indigenous peoples being treated as indigents in their own territories and, as a function of this, are regarded as marginal, drinkers, violent, dangerous and dispossessed of rights.

 

The omissions of the public powers and the refusal of assurance of rights of the Kaiowá is justified by old development arguments, utilized largely in the media and by authorities as obstacles to progress.

 

In the presence of discovery of the legal determinations and the absence of the State in the defense and protection of life it is affirmed that the public power is not only in omission, but promoting the death of the Kaiowá people, being participant in this slow and distressing process of exclusion and of genocide.

 

Nothing justifies the submission of a people to conditions of servitude and of violence such as is occurring in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul.

 

The indigenous lands were illegally occupied, and occupied by estates where today they develop agribusiness activities and sugar cane plantations. The cattle destined for export or serve to feed the large packing house freezers in programs to strengthen agribusiness.

 

On the cattle ranches the indigenous men work as peons in cleaning the pastures and receive for their work an amount that hardly helps a family escape starvation. The sugar cane  serves as food to the large alcohol processing plants, today also inserted into the programs of the federal government for the “development” of fuel for export.

 

In the sugar cane plantations the labor is almost exclusively indigenous, a cheap work force, exploited, submitted to a regime of semi-slavery, without working documents, without adequate food, without accommodations of dignity and are expected to meet exorbitant demands, such as cutting twelve tons of cane per day, the intent to assure the minimum resources of a day’s work.

 

This picture of injustice has been denounced by organizations in defense of Human Rights as a situation that impacts not only the workers in Mato Grosso do Sul, but throughout Brazil.

 

The Kaiowá, who have had their territories divided and handed over to estates are obliged to work for others within those lands that constitute part of their space of traditional occupation.

 

The federal government needs to demarcate, protect, guarantee these lands, assuring a differentiated assistance, capacity to collaborate in the promotion of life, as well as designating programs of self-sustainability by which the Kaiowá are able to envision alternatives and viable projects for the future.

 

However, what assists this is the total negligence of the Brazilian state, which is present is violence and the enslavement as forms of relationship to this population.  The communities and leaders that revolt and question this reality are persecuted and assassinated by gunmen contracted by the ranchers, under the negligent eye of the public power.

 

A study by Brazil’s Indianist Missionary Council (CIMI) shows that of a total of 41 assassinations of indigenous persons occurred as of August 2007 throughout the entire country, 26 took place in Mato Grosso do Sul, or 63% of the cases. Scores of indigenous leaders were jailed or are sentenced to prison terms because they struggle for the defense of their rights.

 

The confinement in small reserves or in encampments at the side of the road have a hard reality of starvation, that has as a consequence the dependency on food rations. The infant mortality is five times greater than the national average, or – of every thousand live births 50 die of starvation or suffer from lack of food and will have had an infancy vulnerable to disease and premature death.

 

The confinement further generates a breakdown of solidarity networks among the families and impedes the functioning of traditional forms of control of this society. Why do they register growing indices of aggressions practiced within these reserves?

 

Certainly because, submitted to the most absolute lack of conditions of life and deprived of the possibility to maintain and reproduce their traditional cultural practices, this people launch their cry of pain, an interminable agony manifested in brutal aggressions, practiced in a recurrent manner.

 

The situation of violence will not be resolved with the installation of repressive apparatus, of ostensible policing  or with a militarization, as has been proposed in municipalities of large urban centers.

 

The grave situation to which the Kaiowá families are submitted will only be solved if the concrete situation of life is altered, with the demarcation of lands, in a manner commensurate with the culture of this people and assuring them specific actions and efficacy of assistance in health, in sustainability projects and in recuperation of environmentally degraded areas.

 

That is, a conjunction of governmental measures that are nothing more than the full realization of rights assured to all the indigenous peoples in the Federal Constitution and in scores of other laws and international declarations ratified by the Brazilian State.

 

Roberto Antonio Liebgott is vice president of CIMI (Indianist Missionary Council).

LARRY ROHTER
IN KYOWA, BRAZIL

AS THE Karitiana Indians remember it, the first researchers to draw their blood came here in the late 1970s, shortly after their Amazon tribe began sustained contact with the outside world. In 1996, another team visited, promising medicine if the Karitiana would give more blood, so they dutifully lined up again.

But those promises were never fulfilled, and since then the world has expanded again for the Karitiana through the arrival of the internet. Now they have been enraged by a simple discovery: their blood and DNA are being sold by a US concern to scientists around the world for $85 a sample.

They want the practice stopped and are demanding compensation for what they describe as the violation of their integrity.

“We were duped, lied to and exploited,” Renato Karitiana, leader of the tribal association, said from the tribe’s reservation in the western Amazon, where 313 Karitiana eke out a living from farming, fishing and hunting.

Antonio Karitiana, the village chief (pictured below) said that health care, sanitation and housing are precarious and transportation deficient. Any money mad from their blood should have been invested “for the benefit of the entire community,” he said.

The Surui people, whose homeland is to the south of the Karitiana, and the Yanomami, who live on the Brazil-Venezuela border, complain of similar experiences.

The indigenous peoples of the Amazon are ideal for certain types of genetic research because they are isolated and close-knit populations, allowing geneticists to construct a more thorough pedigree and to track disease transmission down generations.

But the practice of collecting blood samples has aroused widespread suspicions among Brazilians, who have been zealous about what they call “bio-piracy” ever since rubber seedlings were exported from the Amazon nearly a century ago.

Coriell Cell Repositories, a non-profit entity in New Jersey, stores human genetic material and makes it available for research. It says the samples were obtained legally through a researcher and approved by the National Institutes of Health in the United States.

Joseph Mintzer, executive vice president of the parent organisation, the Coriell Institute for Medical Research, said: “We are not trying to profit from or steal from Brazilians. We have an obligation to respect their civilisation, culture and people, which is why we carefully control the distribution of these cell lines.”

Like a similar centre in France that has also obtained blood and DNA samples of the Karitiana and other Amazon tribes, Coriell says it provides specimens only to scientists who agree not to commercialise the results of their research or to transfer the material to third parties.

The core of the debate has to do with the concept of ‘informed consent’. Scientists argue the appropriate protocols were followed, but the Indians say they were deceived.

“This is sort of a balancing act,” said Judith Greenberg, director of genetics and developmental biology at the National Institute of General Medical Sciences. “We don’t want to do something that makes a whole tribe or people unhappy or angry. On the other hand, the scientific community is using these samples, which were accepted and maintained under perfectly legitimate procedures, for the benefit of mankind.”

But the Indians say that when the first blood samples were drawn, they had little or no understanding of the outside world, let alone the workings of Western medicine and modern capitalist economics.

Francis Black, the first researcher to take samples here, died recently, so it is impossible to obtain his account.

But officials of the National Indian Foundation, the Brazilian government agency that supervises tribal groups, said his presence on the reservation violated procedures specifically designed to protect Indians from outsiders.

in Scotland on Sunday

Date:22 Jun 2007 00:56:10 +1000
To: Editor@VHeadline.com
From: Hilton Pereira da Silva hdasilva@acd.ufrj.br

Subject: Ethical Humanitarian Medical Work, Not Biopiracy

In several recent news releases published in Brazil and reproduced worldwide my name has appeared linked to a case of biopiracy, even though I have never been called to talk with the journalists.

The news dealing with the sale of immortalized cell lines of Brazilian Indians by the US company Coriel Cell Repositories.

  • In August 1996, I worked as the anthropologist consultant in a documentary film for the Discovery Channel about the Mapinguari … one of legendary creatures that are supposed to live in the Karitiana Indian territory in the State of Rondonia, Brazilian Amazon.

Since I am also a trained physician, with a Master’s degree in public health and several years of work experience among rural Amazonian populations,  I perceived, upon arrival at the Karitiana village, that their health situation was extremely precarious, and, even though their health post received medications from the documentary team, several people in the village were at risk of dying of dysentery, dehydration, malaria, tuberculosis, flu etc.

In a conversation during filming the Headman of the tribe asked, in the name of their Karitiana Indian Association, if I could stay a little longer after filming and help them with emergency medical care as, according to him and the tribe’s health agents, several months had passed since they were last visited by a physician from the Brazilian Indian Service (FUNAI).

After the end of filming, and after the okay of the local FUNAI officer, I stayed for three more days during which I attended, as a physician, at the tribe’s health post, and also at the huts of those who could not go to the post.

  • Overall I attended, emergencially and for humanitarian reasons, exclusively everyone who requested my professional medical assistance.

In order to try to help improve the diagnosis of some illnesses such as malaria, hepatitis, tuberculosis, viral diseases, anemia and others for which I could not provide a diagnosis based on clinical evidence alone some blood samples were drawn, and taken to be analyzed at the Instituto Evandro Chagas/FNS, in Belem.

  • Samples were only taken of the people I considered more severely ill or that I could not make a final clinical diagnosis.

Since I did not have adequate storage equipment in the field (as I did not intend originally to provide medical care for a whole tribe and had only brought a basic emergency kit for myself and the TV team), the blood coagulated and, I was told at FNS, was no longer suitable for biochemical analysis.

In order to try to recover any useful information from the samples, I took the material to the Federal University of Pari, where I deposited all the vials collected.

I asked colleagues in the department of genetics, as a favor, that when possible they tried to see what kinds of diseases they could identify from the samples so we could report them to FUNAI and the Karitiana.

As the news about the Coriel Repositories came out in the press in 1997, the material was never touched by anyone at the University, and the 54 vials were delivered to the Ministry of Justice of Rondinia upon their request, in 2004.

  • All the blood samples collected during my emergency medical work for the Karitiana went to the University, they never left Brazil, and they never had any commercial purpose.

To conduct research or commercialize any biological sample without proper consent of its donor, with the volunteer help of my then companion Denise, who is Brazilian and who is not a health professional as some reports have indicated, and simply helped with complementary activities such as playing with the children as I attended their parents, I provided, at their request, lawful emergency humanitarian medical attention to the Karitiana, with the best of my knowledge.

I did not promise them future medical services as this is the role of the Brazilian Health Ministry, and I did nothing to hurt the interests or the culture of the Karitiana or any other people with which I have worked in over fifteen years of anthropological and medical service in the Amazon.

A complete report of my emergency medical activities in the village was sent to the Karitiana Association, to the FUNAI in Brasilia and in Rondinia, to CIMI and to all State and Federal authorities that have sought information about the case.

Several scientific papers published in the 1980s and 1990s, show that the Native American biological material for sale by Coriel comes from the Stanford/Yale collection and was gathered in the 1980s by North American researchers led by Dr. Francis L. Black, a world renown geneticist.

The material was already announced for sale in April of 1996 in the USA fully five months before my first and only stay among the Karitiana, hence it is impossible that I have anything to do with Coriel’s samples.

I never had any dealings with Coriel or any other commercial enterprise in the USA, and I have never been in any other Indigenous territory in Brazil.

On February 1997, I and other Brazilians tried to contact Coriel about their material and talked with Brazilian politicians about the need to investigate the legality of Coriel’s procedures. We received no answer.

Since 1997 there have been dozens of reports published in newspapers and on the web presenting these facts in a distorted manner and indicating that I sold the Indian samples to Coriel, instead of acknowledging my clear and only intent which was to provide the Karitiana with emergency medical assistance.

This irresponsible and wrong information published has generated a Federal Court case against me, and has seriously hampered attempts of other physicians and researchers to work among Indigenous populations, which is well known, are in extreme need of assistance. I have responded immediately to all news about this matter that come to my knowledge; however, the grotesque errors continue to be published.

Biopiracy, as all forms of piracy, is a matter to be seriously investigated and fought against by authorities, scientists, the public and the press worldwide. The commercial use of biological products without benefit to their donors is immoral, unethical and should also be illegal in all countries.

As a Brazilian citizen, a health professional, an anthropologist and a scientist it is my duty to protect the best interest and well-being of the people I work with. This has been my practice all along my professional life. As a professional with dozens of publications and a faculty at the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro all my contact information is easily accessible on the Internet, and I have always made myself available to anyone interested in knowing the truth about this horrible situation in which my name was involved.

I have been accused of barbaric acts when in fact I only attended the emergency medical call of a native tribe in need and followed the mandate of the Brazilian Code of Medical Ethics, in its Articles 57 and 58.

 It is very unfortunate that instead of investigating the truth, reporters and news agencies care only for sensationalism, regardless of its costs to peoples’ lives.

Prof. Dr. Hilton Pereira da Silva,
hdasilva@acd.ufrj.br
Department of Anthropology,
Museu Nacional/UFRJ.

via V.Headline

Os índios karitiana estão enfurecidos porque o sangue e o DNA deles estão sendo vendidos por uma empresa dos EUA a cientistas por US$ 85 a amostra, informa reportagem do “New York Times”.

Segundo a reportagem, eles dizem que os primeiros pesquisadores a obter amostras de seu sangue chegaram à região no fim dos anos 70. Em 1996, uma nova equipe os visitou, prometendo remédios caso eles doassem mais sangue, e por isso eles voltaram a permitir a coleta. Tais promessas jamais teriam sido cumpridas.

Os índios querem que as vendas sejam suspensas e exigem uma indenização por violação de integridade. A reportagem diz ainda que os surui e os ianomâmi se queixam de experiências semelhantes e dizem que também estão tentando impedir a distribuição de seu sangue e DNA pela empresa norte-americana, a Coriell Cell Repositories, de Camden, Nova Jersey.

in Folha Online 

Mais notícias sobre este assunto: AQUI 

*****************************************

Published: June 20, 2007

KYOWÃ, Brazil — As the Karitiana Indians remember it, the first researchers to draw their blood came here in the late 1970s, shortly after the Amazon tribe began sustained contact with the outside world. In 1996, another team visited, promising medicine if the Karitiana would just give more blood, so they dutifully lined up again.

Multimedia

Giving Blood but Getting Nothing

Kyowã Journal

In the Amazon, Giving Blood but Getting

Nothing

More Photos »

But that promise was never fulfilled, and since then the world has expanded again for the Karitiana through the arrival of the Internet. Now they have been enraged by a simple discovery: their blood and DNA collected during that first visit are being sold by an American concern to scientists around the world for $85 a sample.

They want the practice stopped, and are demanding compensation for what they describe as the violation of their personal integrity.

“We were duped, lied to and exploited,” Renato Karitiana, the leader of the tribal association, said in an interview here on the tribe’s reservation in the western Amazon, where 313 Karitiana eke out a living by farming, fishing and hunting. “Those contacts have been very injurious to us, and have spoiled our attitude toward medicine and science.”

Two other Brazilian tribal peoples complain of similar experiences and say they are also seeking to stop the distribution of their blood and DNA by Coriell Cell Repositories, a nonprofit group based in Camden, N. J. They are the Suruí people, whose homeland is just south of here, and the Yanomami, who live on the Brazil-Venezuela border.

Coriell stores human genetic material and makes it available for research. It says the samples were obtained legally through a researcher and approved by the National Institutes of Health.

“We are not trying to profit from or steal from Brazilians,” Joseph Mintzer, executive vice president of the center, said in a telephone interview. “We have an obligation to respect their civilization, culture and people, which is why we carefully control the distribution of these cell lines.”

Like a similar center in France that has also obtained blood and DNA samples of the Karitiana and other Amazon tribes, Coriell says it provides specimens only to scientists who agree not to commercialize the results of their research or to transfer the material to third parties.

The indigenous peoples of the Amazon are ideal for certain types of genetic research because they are isolated and extremely close-knit populations, allowing geneticists to construct a more thorough pedigree and to track the transmission of illnesses down generations.

The practice of collecting blood samples from Amazon Indians, though, has aroused widespread suspicions among Brazilians, who have been zealous about what they call “bio-piracy” ever since rubber seedlings were exported from the Amazon nearly a century ago. The rise of genome mapping in recent years has only exacerbated such fears.

Debora Diniz, a Brazilian anthropologist, argues that the experience of the Karitiana and other tribes shows “how scientists still are ill prepared for intercultural dialogue and how science behaves in an authoritarian fashion with vulnerable populations.”

The core of the international debate that has emerged here, though, has to do with the concept of “informed consent.” Scientists argue that all the appropriate protocols were followed, but the Indians say they were deceived into allowing their blood to be drawn.

“This is sort of a balancing act,” said Judith Greenberg, director of genetics and developmental biology at the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, part of the National Institutes of Health. “We don’t want to do something that makes a whole tribe or people unhappy or angry. On the other hand, the scientific community is using these samples, which were accepted and maintained under perfectly legitimate procedures, for the benefit of mankind,” she said.

The Indians themselves, however, respond that at the time the first blood samples were drawn, they had little or no understanding of the outside world, let alone the workings of Western medicine and modern capitalist economics.

Francis Black, the first researcher to take blood samples here, died recently, so it is impossible to obtain his account. But officials of the National Indian Foundation, or Funai, the Brazilian government agency that supervises tribal groups, said that his presence on the reservation here violated procedures specifically aimed at protecting Indians from outsiders.

“We would never have authorized such a thing,” Osmar Ribeiro Brasil, who has worked at the agency’s regional headquarters in Porto Velho since the 1970s, said of the blood collection. “There is no record of any research permission request either here or at our headquarters in Brasília.”

For the reporting of this article, all the required procedures were followed. Funai authorized the visit here and sent an official to accompany a reporter and a photographer. But that official did not sit in on the interviews here or coach the Indians in their responses.

In the case of the 1996 expedition, permission to enter the reservation was obtained, but only to film a nature documentary, Funai officials said. Once on the reservation, however, a Brazilian doctor accompanying the film crew, Hilton Pereira da Silva, and his wife began conducting unauthorized medical research, Funai officials and residents of the reservation said.

“If anyone is ill, we will send medicine, lots of medicine,” is what Joaquina Karitiana, 56, remembers being told, which soothed her worries. “They drew blood from almost everyone, including the children. But once they had what they wanted, we never received any medicine at all.”

Dr. Pereira da Silva was not available for comment. But in a statement that he issued in response to complaints about his work, he said he had explained the purposes of his research “in accessible language” and had promised that “any possible benefit of any type that results from research with this material will revert in its entirety to those who donated.”

As a result of the legal pressures that the tribe and Funai have brought, Brazilian institutions that had collected blood samples have returned them to the tribes. But entities abroad have resisted, saying both that they acted properly and that there are no profits to be shared with the Indians.

“They want money, and we have not made any money,” Mr. Mintzer of Coriell said. “I don’t know of anyone who has made any money from this.”

The Karitiana say that includes them. Antonio Karitiana, the village chief, said that health care, sanitation and housing were precarious, and that transportation was deficient. Any money obtained from Coriell or a lawsuit would be invested “for the benefit of the entire community,” he said.

“We don’t want that blood back, because it is contaminated now,” said Orlando Karitiana, 34, a tribal leader. “But these blood samples are valuable in your technology, and we think that every family that was tricked into giving blood should benefit.”

The religions of some other tribal groups, however, regard human tissue as important or nearly sacred. The Yanomami, for example, say they want the blood samples returned to them intact.

“A soul can only be at rest after the entire body is cremated,” said Davi Yanomami, a leader of the group. “To have the blood of a dead person preserved and separated from the remainder of the body is simply unacceptable to us.”

But Francisco M. Salzano, one of Brazil’s leading geneticists, with more than 40 years of experience in the Amazon and dealing with indigenous peoples, argues that it is acceptable to brush aside such concerns.

“If it depended on religion and belief, we would still be in the Stone Age,” he said in a telephone interview from his office at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul.

“None of these samples have been used in an unethical manner,” Dr. Salzano added. As for the question of informed consent, he added, “That is always relative.”

in The New York Times 

Página seguinte »