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Rio de Janeiro has potential to make a sustainable tourist complex became reality, making a priority the respect for traditional peoples, a scenario which does not exist anywhere on planet: an indigenous reference center, eternalizing ancestral knowledge for future generations – Aldeia Maracanã – next door of the sports complex which houses the most famous soccer stadium in the world, the Maracanã. Close to Metro and the integrated bus system. The Aldeia Maracanã indigenous occupation took place 14 years ago and, in 2013, some of the main indigenous leaders of the country met in Rio de Janeiro to collaborate in the project of Reference Center for Indigenous Brazilians Live Culture. After being restored, the Indigenous Cultural Center would work in the former building Museum of the Indian. The idea is on paper and wraps a controversy that precedes the 2014 Soccer World Cup preparations: raise the museum project, under worldwide repercussions, and on the other hand making the area into a parking lot and another shopping center. Meanwhile, the beautiful building of Aldeia Maracanã built 1862, deteriorates. Even with current inhabitants living the first indigenous urban experience.

The indigenous people who live in Aldeia Maracanã try to guard the age-old cultures of ethnic groups.

  • We are stepping on sacred ground, we are stepping on a graveyard of people from here. Incidentally, here was also the village of the Maracanã people. Maracanã (Maraka’nà) is an ethnic group, originating the neighborhood, the Arara itself – reports Zé Urutau of Guajajara ethnic group.
  • It’s the sacred fire. Nowadays we are here at Aldeia Maracanã and we continue the sacred fire, saying our prayers, our prayer – Korubo believes. He is representing his ethnicity among the approximately 1,500 Indians who live in Rio de Janeiro today.

Indian Potyra shows an Urucum tree – from the Tupi, uru’ku, which means “red”, it is a fruit that grows on the tree belonging to the Bixa orellana species. Hence, traditionally, the indigenous brazilians make red ink that color their faces, bodies, utensils. “I am painted with his seed. We planted this one today, me, Korubo, Guajajara and Pirazuma”, Potyra says, referring to Aldeia Maracanã residents.

From this beautiful diversity comes the forgotten wisdom: in the Reference Center for Living Culture of Indigenous Peoples, unknown herbs and medicinal cures could be exposed today. “We receive the energy from the full moon, from the cosmos so that sacred fire gives us protection because here on Earth everything is contaminated”, says Korubo. “Everything was already planted. This one is for eating, for throat inflammation”, Potyra explains.

–  Nowadays the dream became travelling in a simpler way, seeking the authentic things – Marcela Pimenta comments. She works for World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the United Nations specialized agency for tourist policy issues that promote responsible, durable and accessible tourism for everyone, bringing together 158 countries.

Marcela Pimenta explains that world tourism will be led by Gen Z – “who wants to be and does not want to have”. It is the first digital age generation, born between 1990 and 2012, which has never seen the world without cell phones nor computers, seeking to connect what is original and unique from other cultures, it’s a very selective Generation. Before the coronavirus pandemic, it was predicted for the next decade, Gen Z would become the largest air group of passangers, with 1.2 billion people traveling annually by plane. Somehow, it won’t be any tourist marketing able to attract it.

There is no point an indigenous brazilian space without the true origin, without singularities, without real experiences, without genuine exchanges. You may even have a trained guide, but Generation Z seeks the real, the genuine Indian.

Since 1910, Brasil ethnic groups met in Aldeia Maracanã building, which was the Brazilian headquarters for the indigenous protection, housing “The best of thought, action and moral insight from the most illustrious Brazilians who have never thought and worked for the indigenous cause in Brazil”, Marshal Cândido Mariano Rondon, Darcy Ribeiro, Orlando Villas-Boas, Noel Nutels, Eduardo Galvão, Carlos Moreira Neto, as the report by anthropologist Mércio Gomes says, former FUNAI president, and professor at Fluminense Federal University (UFF) and University of Brazil (UFRJ). The full report is on the link

The Reference Center could be compared to the two National Museum of the American Indian in the United States: in the heart of New York, and heart of Washington. While the Maracanã stadium is visited by 190,000 tourists a year, American museums only attracted 1.5 million visitors in 2018 alone. Somehow, they recover the inhabited Americas origin by 70 million Indians at the beginning of colonization (Russell Thornton, 1987). Less than 80% remained at the earlies of last century. The huge difference is Brazilian cultural rescue can be done by the Indians themselves. But Brazil still needs to get there. The country counts on wide tourist potential with planty of attractions, according to the representative of World Trade Organization (WTO). Until 2018, the country was champion for international tourism competitiveness ranking of natural resources. Currently on 8th for cultural resources ranking. The tourist Gross domestic product (GDP) corresponds to 8.1% of Brazilian GDP, notably by domestic tourism. International tourism in Brazil is still “incipient”. Air connectivity in a continental country is very deficient. What would an unprecedented indigenous center on the planet represent for sustainable development in Brazil?

A feasibility study must be carried out for a project of receiving tourists showing the truly thoughts of Brazilian Indian – Marcela Pimenta advises.

Just like in the magnificent Korubo’s melody, whole Brazil fits in Aldeia Maracanã. Korubo sings “Pachamama” that historians attribute especially to andean peoples, but the warrior’s voice expands: there are references to Great Mother Earth in Brazil and to five continents.

  • We are going to continue here because our great-great-grandfather, great-grandfather, left an indigenous cemetery here and we will go on here guarding and protecting our ancestry – Korubo says.

“The Rio de Janeiro city is worldwide recognized for its people’s joy of life, mixed and multitudinous (Darcy Ribeiro), for the kindness in receiving other cultures, as well as for the creative capacity in presenting new ideas and customs in Brazilian culture. Here in the Rio de Janeiro city anything can be happen, once it is done by the people, within creativity character and sharing with everyone ”, according to the anthropological report of Mércio Gomes, envisioning the future.