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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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Is Disney's "Wish" Spreading A Subtle Anti-Christian Message To Kids?

Disney's new movie "Wish" is being touted as a new children's blockbuster to celebrate the company's 100th anniversary. But some Christians may see the portrayal of the villain as God-like and turning wishes into prayers as the ultimate denial of the true message of Christmas.

photo of a kid running out of a church

For the Christmas holiday season?

Joseph Holmes

Christians have always had a love-hate relationship with Disney since I can remember. Growing up in the Christian culture of the 1990s and early 2000s, all the Christian parents I knew loved watching Disney movies with their kids – but have always had an uncomfortable relationship with some of its messages. It was due to the constant Disney tropes of “follow your heart philosophy” and “junior knows best” disdain for authority figures like parents that angered so many. Even so, most Christians felt the benefits had outweighed the costs.

That all seems to have changed as of late, with Disney being hit more and more by claims from conservatives (including Christian conservatives) that Disney is pushing more and more radical progressive social agendas, This has coincided with a steep drop at the box office for Disney.

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