Body Paint, Feathers, and VCRs
As adaptive mechanisms to our environment, we create an attachment to our ‘home’. A place which serves as a foundation to our quotidian lifestyle. A place that gives for further continuation. It is a place like this, that one must commit to as a whole community. This is exactly what the Kayapó people of Brazil did, they stood up to preserve their home. They treated this event just as they would with any other, with determination and respect.
The Kayapós’ tie with nature is not only seen through their lifestyle but also their way of dressing. To show respect for nature and their relative closeness they came dressed with feathers, painted bodies, and animal teeth. This did not appear ‘normal’ to the eyes of occidental viewers inside the courthouse, and the entry of indigenous leaders was promptly refused. People, occidentals, are stubborn in believing that there is a right and a wrong, a barbaric and a civilized way. To the surprise of many there are more than one possible approaches for daily rituals. For the Brazilian Indians, there idea on what was respectful was misinterpreted and labeled as ‘savagery’. The rejection of the Indigenous to Western culture, was seen as corrupt. The destructive appeal that the Westerner’s had envisioned of the Kayapó did not stop the Kayapós’ intentions to conserve their home.
“Your Honor, this is how we Kayapó show respect. This is the Indian’s suit and
tie.” In that moment, the spark of resistance ignited. The Kayapó did not show weakness, nor did they bow down to a Western dominance. There was no violence involved, ever when the Kayapó encountered the prosecution. The Kayapó did as they have always done, act as there culture has built them to act. The Kayapó came as a community, all presenting their bodies as a visual illustration of their culture.
Their was never a sign of resistance from the Kayapó, instead the persistence lead them to prove their...
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