(2013) In 1978, the Rio de Janeiro Museum of the Indian moved out of its home in the city’s Maracanã neighborhood. The historic building sat abandoned for nearly three decades until 2006, when real Brazilian Indians started moving in. Today, dozens of indigenous Brazilians from distant corners of the country call the museum grounds home, where they make traditional crafts, grow food and tobacco, and invite Cariocas to learn about their cultures. They call their community Aldeia Maracanã, or Maracanã Village.
Recently, local authorities proposed new residents for Aldeia Maracanã: thousands of soccer fans. The neighboring Maracanã Stadium, which will host major events in the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games, needs a new entryway and expanded parking, according to administrators. Under this plan, the Indians would be evicted and the building and its grounds would be demolished to make way for new construction.
The conflict escalated throughout last year until January 12, 2013, when police surrounded the museum grounds. They were met by Indians brandishing bows and arrows, and by local activists bearing posters and pamphlets. Faced with this protest, the police decided to leave the area as authorities awaited a court order to evict the Indians. The fate of the building is now in limbo, although administrators insist on evicting the Indians.
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