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24 Apr 2015
For the first time in history, nearly 50 ethnic groups from all regions will gather in October to celebrate their traditional sports, culture and diversity
New York – During the week in which Manhattan Island gathers indigenous peoples representatives from all over the world, the Government of Brazil and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) announced that the first World Games of Indigenous Peoples will be held from October 20 to November 1, 2015 in the capital of the state of Tocantins, Palmas, in the heart of the South American country.
“These games celebrate the lifestyle, the harmony with nature and the diversity of indigenous peoples of all ethnicities,” said Brazil’s Minister of Sport George Hilton, speaking to over 100 indigenous women and men, UN officials, journalists and government representatives at the UN headquarters during the 14th Session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.
For the first time, nearly 50 ethnic groups from all regions will gather in one place to celebrate their traditional sports, culture and diversity. Participants will also discuss human rights and environmental issues in specialized venues. Forty men’s teams and 40 women’s teams are confirmed, competing in log race, tug of war, bow and arrow and other traditional indigenous sports, including “head football” (played using the head, instead of the feet). Other details will be disclosed following a preparatory conference in the capital, Brasilia, in May.
“The World Games of Indigenous Peoples are a great example of how sport unites people worldwide, ethnic groups, women and men by promoting peace, respect for human rights and the rich indigenous culture and wisdom from several regions, “said UNDP Director for Latin America and the Caribbean Jessica Faieta during a meeting with Minister Hilton of Brazil and the indigenous leader and World Games of Indigenous People’s organizer, Marcos Terena on 23 April.
During the official announcement at the UN, Terena, very emotional, explained to the audience that the World Games of Indigenous Peoples is a “decades-long dream, which is finally turning into reality”, highlighting the social, environmental and cultural importance of the event, which he stressed was “a major achievement of indigenous peoples, in partnership with the Government of Brazil through the Ministry of Sports, in collaboration with UNDP.”
“Including UNDP in celebration of the first World Indigenous Games shows that Brazil has matured,” said Brazil’s Minister of Sports. “This is also the result of a historical relationship and technical cooperation projects with indigenous peoples and UNDP’s experience working with the Government of Brazil to put together large events such as the Rio+20 in 2012.”