Fundação Nacional do Índio
Fundação Nacional do Índio (Portuguese pronunciation: [fũdaˈsɐ̃w nasjoˈnaw du ˈĩdʒju], National Indian Foundation) or FUNAI is a Brazilian governmental protection agency for Indian interests and their culture.
It was originally called the SPI ("Serviço de Proteção ao Índio"; "Indian Protection Service") and was founded by the Brazilian Marshal Cândido Rondon in 1910, who also created the agency's motto: "Die if necessary, but never kill." The agency fell into decline after 1957. Members of the organization tortured and killed off indigenous tribes, e.g. by providing them with arsenic sweets, to obtain their land. Afterwards the organization was re-established by the military regime in 1967 under the name FUNAI.
FUNAI is headquartered in Brasília and is organized under the Ministry of Justice. It is responsible for taking care of the Native Brazilian issues such as land demarcation, defense of Native Brazilian rights and everything that concerns the Brazilian indigenous populations.
Not all efforts of the FUNAI have been helpful to the indigenous populations of South America. It was FUNAI's idea to introduce machinery, pesticides (for farming) and the use of industrial fertilizer for the native people. While FUNAI initially funded the program, the shortsighted and mismanaged delivery of equipment, as well as the timing of supportive services, made the project fail. The little cash earned by the native populations was spent on specialists to operate the new machinery, oil for the machines, and toxic pesticides.
According to Guido Sterkendries, the Indian reserves (which can legally only be entered with special permission from the local Indian chief) are in practice being entered by just about anyone. This includes lumberjacks, oil and gold prospectors, and drug traffickers. Rather than being protected from foreign influences, at least some Indians (i.e. Kanamary-Indians in the Javari-valley, even in close proximity to the local FUNAI-post) live in poverty, and seem to have taken over (bad) Western habits and diseases.
See also 
- FUNAI - National Indian Foundation (Brazil), Survival International
- "Arsen und Zuckerstückchen". Der Spiegel (13/1968). March 25, 1968.
- Ember and Ember. "Chapter 17. Applied, Practicing, and Medical Anthropology." Cultural Anthropology, 13th Edition. Page 306.
- EOS magazine, february 2012
- (Portuguese) Official website
- (Portuguese) Ministério da Justiça
- (Portuguese) Text of the 1967 law authorizing the creation of FUNAI
- CNN: 'Uncontacted tribe' sighted in Amazon
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