”I liked it, I liked it”. Without taking her eyes off one of the two iPhones that she holds in her hands, Samela Awiá, an indigenous woman from the Satere Mawé Amazonian people, approves a video that will become a post on her social networks.
It is a mini-report so that his 55,000 followers on Instagram know what is happening inside “Terra Livre”, the largest indigenous camp in Brazil, convened annually by the original peoples in Brasilia.
In the 18th edition of the conclave, which ended on Thursday, the activists are demonstrating especially against a package of projects from the far-right government Jair Bolsonaro that they consider harmful to their livelihood.
But in addition to mobilizing in rallies, some young Brazilian indigenous people like Samela are betting more and more on social networks, a modern tool that helps them defend their ancestral traditions and amplify the fight for the rights of their peoples, at a time when hundreds of of communities fear for an advance on their lands.
“The indigenous leaders before us had their tools of struggle, their weapons… the youth brings a new tool of resistance that manages to make a great difference for the movement”, explains this 25-year-old ‘influencer’ to AFP.
In her networks, Samela presents herself as an artisan, communicator and digital activist. Originally from Manaus, capital of the state of Amazonas (north), she came to the capital to participate, along with thousands of others, in the camp and in a series of protests.
“Hello, I am Samela and I am in the indigenous camp”, is presented in the video uploaded by the young woman, who wears traditional clothing, a plume of blue feathers on her head, bracelets and earrings with feathers of the same color.
“Come with me and I will show you what is happening (…) We simplify the news”.
When creating content, the young woman seeks to reach her relatives in the village, who still do not fully understand the scope of the bills under discussion in Brasilia, and also other Brazilians and citizens of the world so that they internalize the reality of the indigenous and his “fair fight“, Explain.
Supported by his agribusiness allies in Congress, Bolsonaro is seeking to speed up several bills seen as harmful to indigenous people and the environment, including one that seeks to legalize mining in reserves.
Currently 900,000 indigenous people (0.5% of the population) live in Brazil but their reserves occupy 13% of the vast national territory.
With the same goal as Samela, and also to banish prejudices about indigenous people, Tukumã, a young man from the Pataxõ people, in the south of Bahia (northeast Brazil), chooses Instagram to raise his voice.
“Don’t you think it’s too modern for an indigenous?”, asks Tukumã ironically in one of his latest publications, a video in which he appears with a smartphone case in his hands.
In this way, the young man criticizes the nickname ‘Iphone Indian’, commonly used to delegitimize members of indigenous peoples who use modern technological objects.
“Do we have to stop in time?”, he justifies in the text of the video.
With 172,000 followers, Tukumã, 22, is almost a celebrity within Terra Livre and is stopped at every step by other indigenous people who ask him to take photos.
“Youth is very important in the struggle of the communities. In the old days, our elders came to Brasilia to fight for territory, and, without even knowing how to get there, they did”, says Tukumã, who is said to be fighting for the future of the land.
“Today we have technology in our favor, we managed to reach the world and we are doing that: bringing technology in our favor so that it becomes a fighting tool”.