* in process... (2019- )
The Ruins of Those Who Were Hidden
Forgotten men of the bow and arrow
They allow themselves to be consumed in the name of integration that disintegrates the root of being and living.
Noel, you said it:
The civilization that sacrifices ancient peoples and cultures is an amoral farce.
Poem by Carlos Drummond de Andrade, “Between Noel and the Indians”
1968. The indigenous communities inhabited key lands for the construction of roads, railways and hydroelectric plants. A stone in the shoe of the Brazilian government. A huge obstacle to "progress". The solution? Forced confinement. The construction of the Krenak Reformatory. An exclusive prison for indigenous people. And one of the biggest atrocities committed by the country's leaders.
The place was a prison center for the correction of all indigenous people that the government considered a problem. No judges. Without any right of defense. The prison was built in the city of Resplendor, Minas Gerais, a territory already occupied by the Krenak ethnic group. Over time, ethnicities from all over the country began to forcibly join the Krenak, not only the prisoners, but also their relatives who came in search of their respective.
Prohibited from speaking the language itself. Forbidden to perform their rituals. Prohibited from doing any activities related to their culture. The reason? Exist. To exist, simply. And be the people who own a coveted land.
The state of affairs worsened with the creation of the Guarda Rural Indígena (GRIN), an alternative for the government to end the relationship problems between soldiers and indigenous people. This guard was formed exclusively by indigenous people who, forced to leave their lands, were trained in fighting tactics - and even torture - for the control of the indigenous people who inhabited the prison. Once again, the arbitrary use of power, abuse in all spheres.
In 1972, another coup. Local farmers showed interest in the lands where the prison was located and the command decided to transfer the entire population of Resplendor to the city of Carmésia, also in Minas. To forcefully transport all the indigenous people, they used closed cargo wagons and handcuffed the most resistant. In Carmésia the situation worsened and many fell into depression and died.
Forced labor on their own land. Forced removals. Exile. Sexual violence. Socially degraded ethnicities. Physical and cultural destruction. The horror was so great that this attempt to decimate the culture of the original peoples is a situation analogous to concentration camps. Torture and violence of all kinds.
These three episodes - the installation of the Krenak Reformatory, the creation of the Indigenous National Guard and the forced removal of the territory (which these indigenous people traditionally occupied) - constitute serious violations of human rights. The Krenak Reformatory is seen as a judicial aberration, an idea whose sole intention was commit ethnocide.
Only at the end of the 1980s, after numerous denunciations, the prison was deactivated and the Krenak indigenous people returned to their land, in Resplendor, where the ruins of the old prison now remain. Other indigenous people, with nowhere to go, remained in Carmésia. Many members of GRIN, who belonged to the Maxacali ethnic group, sought shelter in new lands, one of them in the city of Ladainha, in Minas.
2020. Many question whether there was a dictatorship or military regime between 1964 and 1985. There are people who condemn, there are people who defend and there are people who quiet down. We need to investigate. Analyze. Report. Debate. It is necessary to shed light on all the traumas of those who were impacted in this period. Knowing our roots is essential to get anywhere. If not to understand the process, at least not to repeat it. The world is cyclical and this is the danger. Where echoes of progress and integration ring again in government halls, the time is now.
The project's visual approach aims to transcend the fact itself, to reveal not only the survivors' underground memory, but also to inspire the search for the identity of a new generation, who must live in the midst of the ruins left by a period that stabbed their ontology. Show the faces marked by oppression, the landscapes that were seen behind bars and that today are a symbol of freedom won by many tears. The Brazil of football, samba and natural beauty in old postcards, hide its own history. Behind the statues of the generals, still proudly erected in the public squares, is where the native blood remains trampled. The Indigenous Communities were not extinguished by the colonizers, they were not extinguished by the military regime and they will not be extinguished by our society.