Published: Friday 31 May 1996

Instead of the usual scenes of gaiety to celebrate the 'Discovery of Brazil' on April 22, Brazilian Indians undertook protest demonstrations to display their anger against an administration which has systematically created more hardships for them. Even as President Fernando Henrique Cardoso along with local leaders of the Pataxo area in the state of Bahia led the celebrations, landless rural Pataxo Indians came forward to register their protest and also presented the President with a document demanding the demarcation of their lands, the removal of invaders from them and the withdrawal of Decree 1,775/96 (Down to Earth, Vol 4, No 19).

The Indians also objected to the building of a 'Open Discovery Museum' which seeks to pay homage to those people who 'discovered' Brazil and developed it. The museum, which is to be built by the year 2000, is to come up in the Pataxo indigenous reserve. The Indians see ii as yet another symbol of colonialism and prejudice.

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