Image Courtesy: Google Doodle
Rosane Kaingang (1962-16 October 2016) was a Brazilian indigenous activist, member of the Kaingang ethnic group, considered one of the most respected and influential indigenous leaders from Brazil. She was an Indigenous Brazilian activist who worked tirelessly to fight for Native rights. She brought representation to the Indigenous community and played a critical role in helping the Council of Human Rights (CNDH) investigate rights violations against Native Brazilians. On this day in 1992, at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development hosted in Rio de Janeiro (or Rio 92 Conference), she began her life of service to the indigenous movement.
Life and Career
She was born in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, in 1962. She was raised in a traditional Kaingang village and learned about her people’s culture and history from her elders.
Kaingang was a descendant of the Kaingang people, an Indigenous ethnic group primarily from the southern states of Paraná, Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul. Her indigenous name, Kokoj, means “hummingbird,” and was given to her during a ceremony in honor of her great-grandmother, who died at 120 years old! Just like her name, everything she later worked for was strongly rooted in her community and heritage.
In the early 1990s, Kaingang began to get involved in the indigenous rights movement. She was one of the founders of the Articulação dos Povos Indígenas do Brasil (Apib), the National Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil. She also served as the coordinator of the National Council of Indigenous Women (Conami).
Kaingang was a tireless advocate for the rights of indigenous peoples in Brazil. She fought for the demarcation of indigenous lands, the right to education and health care, and the protection of indigenous cultures. She also spoke out against the violence and discrimination that indigenous peoples face in Brazil.
She spent her adult life fighting for the recognition of rightful territories, sustainable community development and access to quality education and medical services. Kaingang was also instrumental in bringing awareness to the struggles of Indigenous women. As one of the founders of the National Council of Indigenous Women of Brazil (CONAMI), she helped create a structure for Indigenous women to organize and protest as a larger body. These protests urged for broader access to resources and Indigenous labor rights.
Kaingang was a powerful voice for indigenous rights. She was a role model for indigenous women and girls, and she inspired a new generation of indigenous leaders. She died in 2016, at the age of 54, after a long battle with cancer.
Award and Legacy
Kaingang also represented several other social reform groups, most notably the Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (APIB), the Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of the South (ARPINSUL) and the National Indian Foundation (FUNAI). She participated in dozens of meetings, seminars, hearings and mobilization efforts that advocated for a more equitable future for Native Brazilians
Her legacy includes her work on indigenous rights, education, and health care. She was a strong advocate for the rights of indigenous peoples, and she worked tirelessly to improve the lives of indigenous peoples in Brazil. She will be remembered as a trailblazer who made a lasting difference in the lives of many people.
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