Germany’s World Cup Team Helps Raise Indigenous Awareness in Brazil

Rick Kearns
7/25/14

Germany’s championship World Cup soccer team showed gratitude and respect to the Pataxo indigenous Brazilian community in July first with a monetary gift and then an invitation to come back to Germany to discuss issues of demarcation of land with their government and Brazil’s.

The town of Santa Cruz Cabralia in the state of Bahia hosted the German team during their stay for the World Cup games. During their visit the German players spent time with the nearby Pataxo community where they learned about Pataxo culture – including participating in dances and other ceremonies – and their struggles involving territory, education and health among others issues.

On July 11 the German Football Federation (GFF) donated 10,000 Euros ($13,500 U.S. dollars) to the Pataxo tribe of Coroa Vermelha in Bahia for the purchase of an ambulance to transport people to medical facilities.

Pataxo leaders then presented team manager Oliver Bierhoff with an engraved wooden plate, symbolizing the Pataxo lands, and a bow and arrows in gratitude for the German gift and friendship.

“We received two presents: publicity for Santa Cruz Cabralia which is now known throughout the world and a vehicle to provide help for the health of our village,” said Chief Piki Pataxo, who also lead a warrior dance onto the practice field of the German team on July 9, four days before their championship win against Argentina.

Just a few days after the funding gift, the German team danced in the style of the Pataxo warriors after their World Cup victory. On July 14, Arnã Pataxó posted the following statement on social media:

“GERMANY THANK YOU for showing the world a part of the culture and tradition of indigenous Brazilians, a fact that has always been ignored by our rulers.

In the picture, the players in Germany after the victory over Argentina danced in honor of the indigenous Pataxós Santa Cruz Cabrália so thank conquest ... The dance is an indigenous ritual (AWE PATAXÓ) where we thank God Niamissum.”

Then three days after the tribute to the Pataxo, on July 17, the Coordinator of the Indigenous Movement of Bahia Zeca Pataxo announced that, on behalf of the German government, the German team had invited the Pataxo community to send four representatives to Germany for discussions relating to territorial issues.

“Hello my Pataxo people, I am very happy today. I received an invitation from the German government for four persons to go to Germany for the purpose of presenting all our demands regarding demarcations of indigenous Pataxo lands before them and the Brazilian government,” Pataxo wrote.

“This shows the amount of respect that the German team has for us,” he added.

Details of the Pataxo visit to Germany had not been announced as of press time.

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