In the academic year 2014-2015, the King's Brazil Institute presented a series of events which considered the situation of Brazil's Indigenous population in relation to modern Brazil. Below you'll find more information on the events which took place throughout the year. 

Pyramid Room (K4U.04) King's Building
22 October 2014 (17:30-19:30)

Hosted by the Association of Brazilian Postgraduate Students and Researchers in the United Kingdom - ABEP-UK, and supported by King's Brazil Institute, this public talk was held on Wednesday 22 October.

In Brazil, there are more than 300 indigenous ethnic groups, speaking more than 200 languages. Officially demarcated indigenous lands correspond to nearly 13% of the country’s territory. This scenario is a result of the recent implementation of differentiated policies for indigenous peoples in Brazil, following the 1988 Constitution. Nonetheless, the acknowledgement of these differentiated rights is a subject of heated debate in the country.

This Café Brasil was an invitation to all those interested in understanding a little more about indigenous lands and peoples in Brazil, as well as about the current debates on indigenous peoples’ rights.

Carolina Comandulli gave an overview of the status of Brazilian indigenous peoples and lands in Brazil, and talked especially about the current national indigenous rights and policy scenario. Nixiwaka Yawanawá brought his perspective to the public as an indigenous person from an Amazonian tribe. Vinícius Carvalho served as our discussant. 

K6.63 King's Building
08 April 2015 (11:00-13:00)

The Brazil Institute, King’s College London, in collaboration with ABEP-UK, promoted a round-table to discuss the Situation of the Indigenous People in Brazil on 8th of April at 11:00AM in room K6.63 King's Building, Strand Campus, WC2R 2LS.

Maria Augusta Assirati was acting president of FUNAI (National Indigenous Foundation) of the Brazilian Government from June 2013 to September 2014. Since 2012 she was leading the directorate for the Promotion of the Sustainable Development within the FUNAI. She has a degree in Law and a MA in Public Policies. Currently is PhD fellow on Law, Justice and Citizenship in the XXI Century, at the Center for Social Studies at Coimbra University, Portugal

Nixiwaka Yawanawá is part of the Yawanawá people from Brazil. He is living in London and also working with the charity Survival International to raise awareness of the rights of indigenous peoples.  

Fiona Watson is field and research director at Survival International, an international NGO which works with tribal peoples to defend their lives, protect their lands and determine their own futures. She has worked on many campaigns for indigenous peoples’ rights, notably with the Yanomami, Guarani, and Awá of Brazil. 

Sue Cunningham is a professional photographer and she and her husband, Patrick Cunningham, are trustees of the Indigenous People’s Cultural Support Trust. Together they received an award from the Royal Geographical Society for the ‘Heart of Brazil Expedition’ project, and did an epic journey, travelling the 2,500 km of the Xingu river by boat, visiting 48 villages to document how indigenous peoples are being affected by climate change and the dramatic conversion of rainforest to cattle pasture and agricultural land. 

Carolina Comandulli is an Anthropology PhD student from the University College London and a member of the Extreme Citizen Science research group. She worked for the Funai between 2010 and 2014, and now is carrying out her PhD research with the Ashaninka people in Brazil. She is also ABEP/UK Project Director.

Vinicius de Carvalho is a lecturer at the Brazil Institute, King’s College London. His research is focused on the Brazilian Culture, Ethics and Geopolitics, with special interest in the Amazon.


with John Hemming and Colin Thubron
Stamford Street Lecture Theatre, Waterloo Campus
20 May 2015 (18:30)

Following on from the 'Brazil: A Traveller's Perspective' event with Michael Palin and John Paul Davidson on 22 April, we were delighted to welcome historian John Hemming and travel writer Colin Thubron as they discussed the struggles encountered by Brazil's indigenous peoples as they face the 21st century.

Brazil’s indigenous peoples reached a nadir in the mid-twentieth century, reduced by centuries of disease and oppression.  Since then Indians have fought for and achieved remarkable successes, in land tenure (for forest tribes), population growth, and constitutional rights. Now they struggle to retain their rich cultural and language heritages in a booming dynamic nation.  They grapple with new problems in education, health, environmental protection of sometimes vast protected areas, threats from loggers, miners and land-grabbers, legal status, and a need for income in often-remote reserves.

Dr John Hemming has visited forty-five indigenous peoples in all parts of Brazil – four of them at first contact.  Ten of his books relate to Brazil and Amazonia, including a trilogy on the history of Brazilian Indians and the recent Tree of Rivers on the history and geography of the Amazon. He was Director of the Royal Geographical Society for twenty-one years, a period of its greatest growth and modernisation.  He led the largest scientific research project in Amazonian forests ever organised by a European country, and has been on many other expeditions – two in totally unexplored terrain. Hemming has been awarded Brazil’s Ordem do Cruzeiro do Sul (Southern Cross), Peru’s two highest honours, ‘El Sol del Peru’, and the grand cross of the Orden al Merito (Order of Merit), British CMG, and many more medals, awards, literary prizes, and honorary doctorates and fellowships.

Colin Thubron is recognised as one of Britain’s (and arguably the world’s) finest travel writers, the first to be elected President of the Royal Society of Literature. His books (non-fiction and fiction) on Russia, China, various aspects of Central Asia, the Middle East and Peru, have gained many literary prizes and critical acclaim. Thubron was made a CBE in 2007 and is a contributor to the New York Review of Books, The New York Times, The Times and the Times Literary Supplement.