In Brazil, a big rally has been held to protest against the Government's treatment of the country's Indian population.
In Brazil, a big rally has been held to protest against the Government's treatment of the country's Indian population. Speakers at the event claimed that plans to 'emancipate' the Indians were an excuse to deprive them of their tribal lands.
SYNOPSIS: Sao Paulo's Catholic University was the scene of the rally, which was addressed by a number of Indian leaders, including Daniel Matenho. He represented a tribe from Mato Grosso State in Brazil's interior.
Brazil's official policy is to assimilate the Indians into the mainstream of the population as soon as possible. The Interior Minister, Senhor Rangel Reis, who is responsible for carrying out the policy, says the Indians are an obstacle to the country's development.
One man who has championed the cause of the Brazilian Indians for many years is Senhor Orlando Villas-Boas.
He was responsible for creating the Xingu reserve, where 15 Indian tribes live undisturbed.
Another speaker was a Dominican bishop, Dom Tomas Balduino, president of the Indian missionary council.
Dom Tomas said he considered the government policy a form of genocide.
The former Education Minister, Senhor Darcy Ribeiro, is the founder of the Indian Museum in Rio de Janeiro and an outspoken critic of the government.
Under Brazil's present constitution,Indian land belongs to the State, although traditionally the Indians had legal ownership of the land they occupied. Opponents believe the new approach will be disastrous for the country's original inhabitants.