I wish to thank Bea Lumpkin, Brian Greer, Ubiratan D'Ambrosio, Nathan Embretson,
Nancy Flowers, James Wiley, Vanessa Lea, Daniel Orey, George Gheverghese
Joseph, Aracy Lopes da Silva ( In Memoriam ), Nancy Scheper-Hughes, and Luis C.
Schiesari and the Indigenous Peoples mentioned throughout this topic for their
collaboration and insights. The research was funded by the Conselho Nacional de
Pesquisa e Desenvolvimento (CNPq grant # 301499/96-9 NV), and the Fundação de
Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo (FAPESP grant # 98/09100-6) in Brazil.
For more on the association between art and physics, see Art & Physics: Parallel Visions in Space,
Time, and Light, by Leonard Schlain, 1991. Morrow Press.
A convention is a binding agreement between states; used synonymously with treaty and covenant.
Conventions are stronger than declarations because they are legally binding for governments that have
signed them. When the UN General Assembly adopts a convention, it creates international norms
and standards that member states can then ratify, promising to uphold it. The UN can then censure
governments that violate the standards set forth in the convention. Ratification is a process by which
the legislative body of a state confirms a government's action in signing a treaty. At the moment of this
writing, the U. S. has not yet signed the influential but non-binding UN DRIP.
Brazil was first named Terra de Vera Cruz , from 1501 to 1503. After the country's independence from
Portugal in 1822, the new Constitution of 1824 changed Brasil to Império do Brasil. Since 1969, the
official name is República Federativa do Brasil .
The 2010 Census by the IBGE (Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística, http://www.ibge.
population of Brazil. Most Indigenous lands in Brazil are still going through the lengthy process of
“demarcation,” which culminates with the physical demarcation of their boundaries using landmarks,
fences, and most recently trees that standout from the local vegetation. For more information see
Instituto Socioambiental: http://pib.socioambiental.org/pt/c/0/1/2/populacao-indigena-no-brasil.
This area of 27,000 square kilometers also includes two smaller Indigenous lands that were
subsequently annexed to the Xingu Park: the Terra Indígena Wawi, and the Terra Indígena Batovi.
This section is abridged from the topic Acting for Indigenous Rights. Theatre to Change the World . By
Mariana Ferreira. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Human Rights Center, 2013. See www.
State of the World's Indigenous Peoples Report; http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/unpfii/en/sowip.html.
The full report is available at http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/unpfii/documents/MCS_intro_1983_
Individual rights protect human beings one by one, such as the right to be a person before the law.
Collective rights protect the interests and identities of whole groups of people, such as the right to a
language or culture.
When there are serious human rights problems relating to a particular region or issue, the UN appoints
a Special Rapporteur to investigate, monitor, and recommend solutions to this problem. Having a
Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Peoples means human rights violations against Indigenous Peoples
get greater attention.
The complete text of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples can be downloaded at http://
Quoted on the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNFPII) website at http://