Maps for the exhibition Nhe'˜e Porã: Memory and Transformation by Bruna Keese
This work consists in a group of maps created for the exhibition Nhe'˜e Porã: Memory and Transformation, focused on the language of Brazil's indigenous people, in the Museum of Portuguese Language in São Paulo, Brazil.
The first major exhibition on this subject in Brazil, under
the institutional premise of indigenous curatorship, marked the launching of the UNESCO International Decade of Indigenous Languages (2022-2032) in Brazil and received over 189,000 visitors between October 2022 and April 2023.
The 11 maps, all unpublished before, were divided in two categories: print and virtual. For the print ones, tree of them were printed in wood in a large scale (1.60m x 2.20m).
The first one was "A land of many chants: indigenous linguistic families of the americas", a map that crossed several data bases from several times to form a colorful illustration of the many may linguistic families across the American continent. It's an image that has a huge impact, since the since most of us are not aware of the vast number of languages that were and/or are spoken in our continent. Inhabited by thousands of peoples, the
American continent, that stretches from the North Pole to the South Pole, is a land of many names. The indigenous peoples of the north call it Turtle Island—which
on the map has become the south; Pindorama
is the Tupi-Guarani name given to the current Brazilian territory. Abya Yala is “land in bloom” in the Guna language and has been used as a counterpoint to “America”—a common lexicon among the indigenous peoples of the continent. The map proposes alternative perspectives on this Earth, the ancestral territories, and the diversity of peoples and languages. Drawing on the limited existing materials on the subject, it simplistically
and approximately illustrates the geographic distribution of the original linguistic families in the Americas. It is a static image that overlays several historical periods and does not aim to present the transformations resulting from territorial invasion and the genocide of indigenous peoples. Instead, its purpose is to highlight their inherent connection to the Earth. The illustrated compass rose by the exhibition curator Daiara Tukano features the eagle to the North, the harpy eagle to the South, the hummingbird to the East, and the condor to the West, indicating the directions. The large snake alludes to the paths of ancestral migration—these are significant beings in numerous indigenous cultures.
The second one "Linguistic Families spoken in recognized Indigenous Lands in Brazil" shows the distribution of the 19 linguistic families of indigenous
languages spoken in the Brazilian territory, as well as the
eight isolated languages and the two contact languages. Its development is based solely on available data on speakers living in recognized Indigenous Lands (IL) by the
State. There is currently no systematic data on indigenous languages spoken in urban and rural areas
outside of IL. Given the lack of current data, it is important to note that this is a partial representation.
The third one, "Indigenous Population and Recognized Lands in Brazil", overlays two important sets of data on the indigenous population in the country. One side shows the location of recognized Indigenous Lands up to the present moment and their classification according to
the legal-administrative situation reported by Funai (current National Foundation of Indigenous Peoples).
The other side displays data from the latest census released by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) in 2010, regarding the indigenous population organized by municipality. The main objective here is to highlight the indigenous presence throughout the national territory and to explicitly demonstrate,
among other things, the discrepancy between the size of Indigenous Lands in the Northern region and those located in the Northeast or Southeast—an expression of colonial violence against indigenous territories
in those regions.
There was an other one that was also printed for the exhibition: "Education Policies for Indigenous People in Brazil (until 2022)". In this mapa various pieces of information on educational policies for indigenous peoples in Brazil, including: the most recent data on
the number of indigenous schools per state; federal institutions per state that offer openings for indigenous students; higher education institutions selected in the
Prolind (Program for Support of Higher Education
and Intercultural Indigenous Teaching) calls; and universities with indigenous entrance exams. Highlighted on the map is the location of the Ethno-educational
Territories (TEEs) established to date. The creation of TEEs in 2009 (Decree No. 6,861) is the result of indigenous struggle for rights and marks an important stage in the historical process of indigenous school
empowerment. The Ethno-educational Territories acknowledge the specificities of indigenous peoples and enable a more autonomous management of educational
processes in keeping with their territorialities, regardless of the political division between states and municipalities in the country.
The virtual maps were composed with the intention of locating specific points used in narratives on interactive screens, such as multilingual indigenous regions and indigenous sign languages. They use the same visual identity but we inverted the colors, using darker background.
CreditsExhibition curator and first map ilustrations: Daiara Tukano Exhibition design: Elaine ramos and Flávia Castanheira. Maps research: Gustavo de Godoy Silva and Majoí Gongora. Support: Tiago Santos (ISA). Exhibition photos credits Ciete Silvério and Gabriel Barrera.