Palmas (Brazil), Oct 22 (IANS) Brazil will host the first World Indigenous Games, a multi-sport event which has attracted some 1,800 indigenous athletes from 24 countries and regions, here from October 23 to November 1.
Brazil, home to nearly 900,000 indigenous people from 305 different indigenous ethnicities that speak 274 languages, has held a dozen Indigenous Games for its own natives since 1996 and decided to expand the games into an international event, reports Xinhua. To add to it, people from all the Americas, delegations will be arriving from Australia, Russia and the Philippines. From Brazil alone, 24 indigenous ethnicities will be attending. “It’s a very important moment for Brazil. It’s a time of exchanging knowledge and it’s a good time to promote the indigenous peoples through the games,” said Brazil Sports Minister George Hilton.
Indigenous athletes will compete in a variety of sporting events, ranging from a few western-style competitions (football, athletics) to many indigenous traditional games. Some will be played competitively such as canoeing, archery and Corrida de Tora, but there will be a huge number of non-competitive demonstration events in which indigenous peoples have chosen to showcase their living heritage of games.
A good example is xikunahity, a football-style game in which the ball is controlled only with the head. “It’s not only about the games but they are also going to be showing their culture through food, through their art and they are bringing their own interpreters so that one tribe can communicate with the other,” Hilton said.