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AAA Stands in Solidarity with Brazilian Anthropologists

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May 9, 2017

Letter available in Portuguese here (PDF). 

Ministra Cármen Lúcia Antunes Rocha Presidente do Supremo Tribunal Federal
Praça dos Três Poderes, Brasília/DF , Cep: 70175-900

Deputado Rodrigo Maia
Presidente da Câmara dos Deputados
Praça dos Três Poderes - Câmara dos Deputados, Gabinete: 575 - Anexo: III, Brasília/DF, Cep: 70160-900

Deputado Alceu Moreira
Presidente CPI - Funai e Incra
Câmara dos Deputados, Praça dos Três Poderes, Anexo II, Pavimento Superior, Sala 165-B, Brasília – DF, CEP 70160-900

Alber de Paula
Secretário CPI - Funai e Incra
Câmara dos Deputados, Praça dos Três Poderes, Anexo II, Pavimento Superior, Sala 165-B, Brasília – DF, CEP 70160-900


Dear Ministra Rocha, Deputado Moreira, Deputado Maia, Secretario de Paula:

At the request of the Associação Brasileira de Antropologia (ABA), the American Anthropological Association (AAA) would like to express our deep concern over the legal actions directed towards Brazilian anthropologists by the Parliamentary Inquiry Commission on FUNAI and INCRA.

We are alarmed that basic anthropological scholarship in Brazil, specifically research documenting indigenous peoples and descendants of runaway slaves (quilombolas), is being viewed as “criminal” by the Commission. We’re certain that there is a misunderstanding of the nature of anthropological scholarship. Researchers do not necessarily agree with or support the political or other beliefs of those with whom they interact. The highly regarded Brazilian anthropological community is internationally respected for its scientific research and its defense of human rights. Liberty, academic freedom, and respect for diversity and pluralism, as well as cultural and land rights, are values protected by the Brazilian constitution.

Founded in 1902, the AAA is the world’s largest professional anthropology organization, with 10,000 members in the United States and many nations across the globe, including Brazil. Our mission is to advance understanding through anthropological research, and to apply that understanding to tackling some of the world’s most pressing problems.

The work being conducted by the anthropological community is ultimately to the benefit of the Brazilian people and of humankind. We appeal to your appreciation of sound scholarship and call on you to take the necessary measures to protect the well-being of anthropologists and of Indigenous and Quilombola communities in Brazil.

Thank you for your attention to this matter. We look forward to your positive response.


Alisse Waterston                                              Edward Liebow

President, AAA                                                 Executive Director, AAA


Learn more about the situation on the Society for the Anthropology of Lowland South America's website

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