As opposed to past beliefs, there is strong evidence that the brazilian indigenous populations are growing in the last decades. In this context and taking into consideration the interactions and assimilation processes with other cultures, the issues of the indigenous’ sense of identity are extremely delicate.
This essay is aimed to approach the issues surrounding the ethnical identity of Brazil’s remaining indigenous peoples and how the rest of the society regards them. Willing to debate ways for their permanence at the core of the Brazilian nation as an essential part of its people, several questions come up, such as: Who is the indigenous person nowadays? What defines his/her identity? Why do they take up such a romanticized and distorted place within the Brazilian society’s imagery?
The close shots portray members of a single ethnic background in their own environment and wearing day-to-day costumes, not those associated with traditional symbols and rituals. The images highlight the different phenotypic patterns among members of a same ethnicity and demystify the overwhelming idea of the traditional indigenous person as rationalized by the Brazilian society. This way, they explore the means through which changes prompted by decades of contacts with various references were incorporated into the indigenous cultures, giving their cultural identity a whole new meaning.