TVs But No Toilets - A Snapshot Of Daily Life For Brazil's Indigenous

Brazil's indigenous modernizing at a fast pace
Brazil's indigenous modernizing at a fast pace
Matheus Leitao

BRASÍLIA - Brazil's indigenous people increasingly live an urban existence. Televisions, DVDs, refrigerators, gas ovens and cellphones are all consumption goods that have been integrated into the daily lives of many tribes. And the dream for young Brazilian native people: going to university.

These are among the findings from a survey conducted by Datafolha and ordered by the Confederation of Agriculture and Cattle Breeding of Brazil. In July, 1,222 interviews were held in 32 different tribal villages around the country.

According to the poll, 63% of indigenous people watch television, 37% have a DVD player, 51% own a fridge, 66% use their own gas ovens and 36% call from their own mobile devices.

Still, only 11% have regular access to the Internet, and only 6% have their own computer. Radio, on the other hand, is used by 40% of the interviewees. For Cimi (Missionary Indian Council), "It is evident that technology leads to changes, but this does not mean a cultural clash is at play. Acquiring a TV or owning a cellphone won’t make anybody less indigenous.”

Though a shift to a more modern lifestyle is underway, the numbers remain far behind the average Brazilian household. In Brazil, 98% of people have television; 82% have a DVD player; and 79% have mobile phones.

The study also asked respondents to list the problems in their lives: 29% of those surveyed cite problems getting health care; other difficulties were territorial situations (24%), discrimination (16%), education (12%) and jobs (9%).

There has been a notable increase in the amount of information that arrives in these communities, this has translated into an uptick in family planning measures: 55% of people polled said they were aware of birth control methods like condoms and the pill; 32% said they actually use them. More than 80% had heard of AIDS.

Moreover, most indigenous people (67%) said they would like to go to university.

Though 79% of those interviewed consider it important, only 18% of respondents said they have bathroom facilities inside their own homes. Amongst the facilities that villages include: 69% have medical centers; 88% have schools; 59% churches; 19% markets; and 6% pharmacies.

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A Mother In Spain Denied Child Custody Because She Lives In Rural Area

A court in Spain usurps custody of the one-year-old boy living with his mother in the "deep" part of the Galicia region, forced to instead live with his father in the southern city of Marbella, which the judge says is "cosmopolitan" with good schools and medical care. Women's rights groups have taken up the mother's case.

A child in Galician countryside

Laure Gautherin

A Spanish court has ordered the withdrawal of a mother's custody of her one-year-old boy because she is living in the countryside in northwestern Spain, where the judge says the child won't have "opportunities for the proper development of his personality."

The case, reported Monday in La Voz de Galicia, has sparked outrage from a women's rights association but has also set off reactions from politicians of different stripes across the province of Galicia, defending the values of rural life.

Judge María Belén Ureña Carazo, of the family court of Marbella, a city on the southern coast of 141,000 people, has ordered the toddler to stay with father who lives in the city rather than with his mother because she was living in "deep Galicia" where the child would lack opportunities to "grow up in a happy environment."

Front page of La Voz de Galicia - October 25, 2021

Front page of La Voz de Galicia - Monday 25 October, 2021

La Voz de Galicia

Better in a "cosmopolitan" city?

The judge said Marbella, where the father lives, was a "cosmopolitan city" with "a good hospital" as well as "all kinds of schools" and thus provided a better environment for the child to thrive.

The mother has submitted a formal complaint to the General Council of the Judiciary that the family court magistrate had acted with "absolute contempt," her lawyer told La Voz de Galicia.

The mother quickly accumulated support from local politicians and civic organizations. The Clara Campoamor association described the judge's arguments as offensive, intolerable and typical of "an ignorant person who has not traveled much."

The Xunta de Galicia, the regional government, has addressed the case, saying that any place in Galicia meets the conditions to educate a minor. The Socialist party politician Pablo Arangüena tweeted that "it would not hurt part of the judiciary to spend a summer in Galicia."

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