Indian Day in Brazil

Celebrating Indian Day in Brazil

They say that the Portuguese discovered Brazil… Except there were already people living here before the Portuguese came over. And when we talk of Brazil and Brazilian history we always seem to forget those who were the first Brazilians. So today, to celebrate Indian Day in Brazil, we’ll talk about our roots: the indigenous people of Brazil.

Indian in Portuguese

First things first, it’s important to clarify why we say Indian and not Native American nor indigenous. If you’re learning Portuguese, you have probably noticed that the word índio is solely used to talk about Native American people. Yes, it does come from the misconception that the Portuguese had landed in the Indies. But it still differs from the word used to refer to people from India – indiano(a).

Does that mean we cannot call people indigenous? No, that’s fine, too. You can say both índio (Indian) and indígena (indigenous person) to talk about Native Americans in Portuguese. It’s preferable to say indígena, however, índio is still far more common. So I hope you see where we’re coming from!

The Origin of Indian Day in Brazil

Brazilian Indian Day is not that unique. In fact, it’s a commemorative date in many countries in Latin America. That is because this special date was created in the first Inter-American Indian Congress. That congress was a reunion of Native American representatives from all over the continent. The goal was to discuss policies that were mindful of indigenous people and their culture. To raise awareness to their cause, they decided Indian Day was a much-needed date. And so in 1943, President Getúlio Vargas signed the law that declared April 19th Indian Day in Brazil.

Native Americans in Brazil

The point of Indian Day is to shine light upon the lives and struggles of indigenous people all over the Americas. For that reason, it’d only make sense for A Dica do Dia to talk about Brazilian Indians and their history. There are approximately 800,000, with over 300 indigenous tribes in Brazil. Collectively they speak more than 270 different languages. An estimated 17% of them don’t speak Portuguese.

These people had a heavy burden to carry in our history: for many years, colonizers enslaved and mistreated Indians. This happened quite suddenly and was devastating – there’s even a popular Brazilian song that narrates their plight. Beyond taking their territory and introducing deadly diseases, Native Americans were also forced to build cities, roads and fight battles against invaders for the sake of their masters.

Indians in Rio de Janeiro

Let's celebrate Indian Day in Brazil! Native Americans built the Arcos da Lapa in Rio de Janeiro.

Rio de Janeiro is a great example of a city built by and defended by Native Americans. The tupinambás and temiminós were responsible for the construction of the famous Arcos da Lapa. Out of contempt for the Portuguese, several tribes came together and formed the Confederação dos Tamoios  (Tamoio Confederation) to rise against them. At one point the French attempted to take over Rio de Janeiro (yes, cariocas were almost French!) and these Indians joined forces with them. But the Portuguese had allies of their own: other Native Americans of the region.

Nowadays, although there are no indigenous communities within the city of Rio, you can still find Native Americans living in the state, in places such as Angra dos Reis and Paraty. You can learn more about Indians in Brazil by visiting the Museu do Índio (Indian Museum) in Rio. Perhaps we can even go there during a RioLIVE! activity?

Now we’ve learned about the Native Americans in Brazil, we just need to keep spreading their story. That’s what Indian Day in Brazil is all about!

Until the next Dica!


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Click in the links below to see more related Dicas
History of Rio de Janeiro
Women’s Day in Brazil
Brazilian Republic Day
Independence Day in Brazil

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Had an incident with a holiday. I selected Monday and Wednesday for my classes, since I can’t attend classes on other days. Due to holiday one of the lessons was scheduled on Friday. I warned about this issue on Tuesday, 3 days before the lesson, but manager answered in a rude way that they can’t do anything and blamed me that this is my fault I didn’t warn earlier. Teacher is asking their students to give good grades to the course on a second lesson. This is not teachers fault. Probably managers ask her to do this. Maybe my grade will change. Only time will show. At the moment as is.
Mykola Kurenkov
Mykola Kurenkov
Estudar portugués online com a escola Río & learn é muito gratificante pra mim, pois as professoras são amorosas. As aulas são engraçadas, com muita prática falando português brasileiro. Também eu posso conhecer pessoas de outros países e outras culturas. Eu sinto que moro no Brasil quando eu estou em aula!!
Raccomando tantissimo! Ho fatto lezioni private e il mio portoghese migliora a vista d'occhio. Fluente in 4 mesi grazie a questa scuola <3
Giulia Benzi
Giulia Benzi
I took a one week in-person course and had an amazing experience. It was intensive and definitely highly recommended! I appreciate the great, caring and highly professional team : Diogo for your awesome and energetic lectures and dedication. The lessons outside the classroom were very engaging and a useful way to immerse into local life. Thanks Laise, Marta and Dayane for the great support and smooth coordination. I look forward to taking the online sessions next!
Cheryl Loh
Cheryl Loh
I joined the online classes 1 month ago and I am loving the experience. Shout-out to Professora's Dani & Nathalia,they're amazing! The classes are interesting,focused and the teachers are very patient. They also do extra online activities outside the class schedule to really boost your learning in a fun, engaging environment. My speaking proficiency is improving faster than ever before compared to other classes I tried with other schools. The staff are very organised, communicate well and I think the cost is excellant value for money. Vamos lá!
Natasha Deegan
Natasha Deegan
Followed one week of group classes in Rio de Janeiro, I had no prior experience with Portuguese. The classes were really good, fun even (we laughed a lot) and the material is very well chosen. The after activities (Rio Live) as well were so fun and the teachers (Diogo) always made you feel comfortable and had a lot of patience. We even went for lunch together to learn about this subject. I really loved this way of teaching. I feel like I have a good base of the language and I can understand so much more now.
I have taken online courses twice now with Rio & Learn. In both group and private lessons the instruction was excellent. Classes were well-planned and the instructors were responsive and engaging. If I ever have the chance I will definitely sign up for their in person classes.
Heather Minielly
Heather Minielly
Ich war vor 4 Jahren dort und habe dort die Basics in Portugiesisch gelernt. Sehr praxisnaher Unterricht mit vielen Aktivitäten und Spaß. Mir gefällt dieser spielerische Ansatz sehr und ich konnte einiges lernen. Absolute Empfehlung!
Lars Altmar
Lars Altmar
This is the best language school ever. I spent one month, started with no portguese whatsoever, and now I can hold basic conversations and understand most of what people are saying. My progress was pretty amazing thanks to all the teachers who are AMAZING. I can't stress enough how nice, helpful and fun they are. In addition to classes in the mornings, the school offers different kinds of activities every afternoon outside the school. It's great to practice portuguese outside and also discover some great places in Rio as well as many different kind of fun activities. I made great friends there and had so many good laughs. Often the teachers also take you out of the classroom for the entire class or half of it to make it more entertaining. I truly recommend this school that was way more than a school for me. Thanks to everyone there, especially Diogo, Lais and Guliana for everything.
tessie cranman
tessie cranman
Rio & Learn is a great space to learn Portuguese. The amazing teachers and support staff create a wonderful and intimate environment to learn, through a varied set of mediums: class lectures, out and about lesson around copacabana, post-school activities as well as a range of 121 teaching options. I highly recommend this school!!!