Memory, mysticism, resistance and hope: 50 years of the Indigenist Missionary Council in Brazil
For three days, around three hundred missionaries, men and women, leaders of up to twenty indigenous peoples, volunteers and workers of the Indigenous Missionary Council (CIMI) and sympathizers of the indigenous cause have met at the Vicente Cañas de Luziânia Training Center (Goiás , Brazil) under the slogan "50 years at the service of the life of indigenous peoples", commemorating the anniversary of the creation of CIMI in 1972.
The celebratory and reflective axes have been four: Memory, Mysticism, Resistance and Hope. Words that very well reflect the joint journey between the Catholic Church and indigenous peoples, which has a history that combines strength and determination to defend the rights of native peoples, traditionally excluded and massacred in Brazil, with the notes of pain and blood of many martyrs, including the Augustinian Recollect missionary Cleusa Carolina Rhody Coelho (1933-1985).
The meeting also had a programmatic nature, since strategies and actions for the coming years were reviewed.
At the opening of the congress, on November 8, it was characterized by reflections on spirituality and conflict: "Our mysticism is militant, the indigenous cause puts us at the center of the hurricane of a conflict." Songs, indigenous cultural rituals, prayer, stage performances filled the day. The President of CIMI and Archbishop of Porto Velho (Rondônia), Roque Paloschi, summarized the objective of the Congress:
The meeting ended on November 10, Thursday, with a Eucharistic celebration and the reading of a manifesto that calls for "remembering the colonial past and protecting ourselves against the traumatic repetition of that past."
CIMI expresses, among other things, words of gratitude to the indigenous people, to all those who gave their lives for the indigenous cause and whom it calls their martyrs, to the Brazilian bishops who give them institutional support and protection, and to all the social movements, institutions and Brazilian and foreign entities that support the indigenous cause.
CIMI's priorities in these fifty years have been the protection of six elements of indigenous peoples: land, culture, self-determination, pastoral inculturation, awareness, and specific, integral, contextual, universal, and liberating indigenous pastoral care.