University of São Paulo: Researcher launches memoir of the Kaingang indigenous people

The Kaingang people, who have lands distributed in the southern region of Brazil and also in the State of São Paulo, are recognized mainly for their intimate relationship with nature. This was one of the aspects that caught the attention of Ariadne Dall’Acqua Ayres, while she was researching to produce her master’s dissertation. In the work, she analyzed how the practices and values ​​of this indigenous people in the Paraná region could contribute to the conservation of biodiversity.

Currently a doctoral student in Comparative Biology at the Faculty of Philosophy, Sciences and Letters of Ribeirão Preto (FFCLRP) at USP, Ariadne organized with her advisor, Fernanda da Rocha Brando, the book Livro de Memórias dos Kaingang do Paraná , which brings stories and knowledge told by indigenous themselves.

The relationship with the environment is evident in the testimonies collected: for those indigenous people, if nature is destroyed, their culture will be too. Ariadne exemplifies citing the practice that they already adopted, before the period of colonization, of changing places periodically, to give the soil time to regenerate. Later, this was conceptualized as environmental restoration, showing how indigenous practices are fundamental to thinking about environmental preservation.

The book will be distributed free of charge to indigenous schools in Paraná, as a way of contributing directly to the community and not only to science, in the strict sense. The publication is also available on the USP Open Books Portal.

The work is divided into three main parts: the history of the Kaingang people, their traditional knowledge and a message from the narrators to their own people and to non-indigenous people about the current scenario of the community. The book also presents a little about each of the indigenous people who contributed to its construction.

Identity and protagonism
For the Kaingang, having contact with this work can help them not only to have their culture preserved, but also to value their own identity, which is difficult due to the prejudices they suffer: “Distributing the book for free, especially within indigenous schools , it is a way for them to recognize themselves, admire the knowledge they have and understand how much they have to contribute”.

In addition to the impacts on the community, the doctoral student believes that, by bringing the indigenous peoples as narrators, the book can encourage other researchers in the area to support this role. In addition to giving visibility to the Kaingang people, who are considered a minority by the rest of society, but who care for nature for a majority. “If we go where nature is most preserved , it is precisely where there are indigenous populations”, concludes Ariadne.

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