Nau mai e te tau rua blog!
The fight for indigenous people in Brazil and around the world is REAL. This week was heavy. Every day was an emotionally enduring, heart-tugging, spirit-evoking marathon of understanding the real fight against white nationalism and the continued oppression of indigenous people here in Brazil.
My heart hurts. I wasn’t expecting to feel so much Mamae being here. We have visited three Guarani people communities, one Quilombolos community, and one Landless workers’ settlement. Each visit was a deep, complex lesson in understanding the diversity of human rights this country has. Hearing the stories from the people about their injustices riddled me with anger but also allowed me to see first-hand the impacts colonialism has on other communities.
So far, I have come to realise how economically privileged Māori are back home. Although Māori haven’t been given complete Tino rangatiratanga, and ultimately that is the goal and our right, we still have been given something. I’ve seen here that communities have been denied body, land, and language sovereignty. Even just the right to identify as an Indigenous person. Their knowledge is frowned upon in a way where you can’t even access it. Denied education because their communities aren’t ‘technically government-recognised addresses.’ They look at Māori as the supreme indigenous peoples because we have been given the basic rights to all of these things, which are things they are still fighting for. And the most beautiful thing is that they don’t envy us; they don’t hate us and frown upon our battles as indigenous Māori. They honour us and recognise that although we are fighting different battles, the fight is still the same. And that blows my mind. The fact that they are able to have their basic rights compromised every day but still have the capacity to feel for our struggles that are miles ahead of what they are currently going through is just….. out of this world.
I’m challenged. I’m inspired. I’m blown away by their compassion. By their resilience. By their Knowledge. I wish that I could be as strong as them. And it is something that I continually strive to do.
I got inspired. So I wrote a poem.
What is freedom?
To autonomy over our rights.
And then our bodies.
I’m fighting for a future that I yet cannot see.
But people are living the fight right in front of me
Brazil has hands around their neck,
Suffocating at the hands of white people.
Chains around their ankles, unable to explore their territories
In a government that others their existence and denies that they are people
A fight for reality, A reality that only I breathe
Being oblivious to the suffocation and the lack of basic sovereignty
The fight for all indigenous peoples is everyone’s to bare
It’s not a competition; we need everyone to care
The way I fight for my people is how we fight for each other
Our battles are different, but let’s fight together
Kia kaha te tangata indigenous. We see you working
Land back today, and every day, and then, forever