TheFOB dreams of a country where all people feel that they belong
Belonging is one of the pillars for a healthy society! In our modern-capitalist society, unfortunately not everyone “belongs” as there are problems of isolation such as homelessness, prison, asylums and various degrees of populations being marginalized. Is utopia a scenario where everyone feels like they belong, when everyone is a part of something meaningful? Well, that is the reality within most traditional indigenous societies that have been able to resist negative outside influences.
As an anthropologist’s assistant, a few years ago I went on an adventure in the northern Brazilian state of Tocantins. I worked in a teacher training project sponsored by a federal university, within an indigenous community. This ethnicity had been forcibly relocated by governments throughout the centuries since colonization, leading to a loss of culture as a result of instability, trauma and disrespect.
We also made blog post talking more about Golden Grass here! Check it out!
On my adventure, one of the indigenous students (a great teacher in the Apinajé tribe) said the teacher training program was extremely enlightening and empowering for her. She said it gave her a new sense of pride in her heritage. She even confided in me, telling me she wished for years that she has been born white and used to dislike being indigenous. I pointed out to her, something she could clearly see for herself, that she had now become a part of a national and even an international movement that works towards empowerment and respect of indigenous populations.
What can you do when people feel that they don’t belong?
With electricity reaching remote communities some people are beginning to purchase TVs. It’s detrimental to one’s idea of belonging when one realizes they are not represented in mainstream culture or even valued for that matter. It can be extremely sad to have your reality, your indigenous identity represented through offensive, ignorant and erroneous stereotypes. And this phenomenon has been happening throughout many native Brazilian communities.
One of the reasons for high incidences of alcohol and drug use within some indigenous communities, can be attributed to traditional systems and imaginings of self, breaking down or being restructured.
Purchasing fair trade indigenous art helps native people strengthen their self determination, secure their livelihoods and preserve their culture in the material world. Explore some options from TheFOB.
Indigenous culture is incredibly valuable since they live in harmony with the earth and for the most part with each other. All that can and feel inclined are urgently called upon to collaborate with Indigenous people that are continuously fighting against systemic injustices and structural violence. They belong where they want to stay, in nature!
If you feel called to get involved, HELP people belong!