Indigenous Peoples' Games and Original Knowledge

Diffusion Course Online
08/11/2022 16:28

The Intertribal Indigenous Memory and Science Committee - ITC and the School of Physical Education and Sports at the University of São Paulo - EEFE-USP in Brazil organized an online extension course about the Indigenous Peoples’ Games. The 29 hour course took place from 1st June to 31st August 2022 with participation of university professors and indigenous professors of notorious knowledge from 1st  June to 31st August 2022.


The course came from a demand of professionals in the areas of Physical Education, Sport, and other related areas to know more about the Indigenous Peoples’ Games (Jogos dos Povos Indígenas -  JPIs).


The idea to bring the indigenous games to the city came from Carlos Justino Terena (in memory) and Marcos Mariano Terena. The creation of the ITC, which is a multi-ethnic organization, during the Eco-92 has contributed to the achievement of this dream, where there was a greater political participation of Indigenous Peoples. The Indigenous Peoples' Games are the main events held by the Committee which provide a place where ancestral knowledge interrelates with the technical knowledge of the government. The motto of the Games - the important thing is not to win, but to celebrate -  is inserted in the Terena ethos and policy. There are no incentives for winners by the organizers, the medals and trophies are given for each ethnic community without the character of a prize.


The first edition of the Games was held in 1996 in the city of Goiânia, followed by 13 national editions in different Brazilian cities, and the first World Indigenous Games held in 2015 in Palmas. The ITC played a key role in the organisation of the 2nd World Indigenous Games in Canada in 2017.

The organisation of the games developed despite many tensions between the Indigenous leaders and the government. They were a learning process for the organizers. Learning about differences, exchange of experiences, and approximation between the ethnic groups and the non-indigenous peoples during the games provided important opportunities for changing behaviors, identities and learning about openness.


The course held by ITC and EEFE-USP addressed various themes from the JPIs. The objective of the course was to bring themes to contemporary debates, aiming to broaden decolonization perspectives within the pedagogical universe and school and non-school physical education. The course also contributed to bringing other perspectives to sport and leisure.


The course reached a diverse audience: public and private school teachers interested in the application of the Brazilian law 11.645 of 2008, indigenous teachers, indigenous athletes and members of indigenous games, undergraduate and graduate students and those interested in the theme in general.


The course themes also addressed the history of the JPIs, indigenous spirituality and knowledge, human rights, indigenous women, youth, government power and government policies, social aspects, body practices in open water, precision and skill, strength and speed, indigenous football, school, JPIs and the UN sustainable development goals. We hope to expand these themes in different areas of knowledge.


Marcos Mariano Terena, Taily Terena and Maria Beatriz Rocha Ferreira (Indigenous Intertribal Committee) Ana Cristina Zimmermann and Soraia Chung Saura (School of Physical Education and Sports - USP) organised the couse.