Back at school, I used to hear about indigenous peoples in the “dia do indio.” This was a celebration where the kids painted their faces and dressed ‘indigenous’ at schools in Brazil.
As an adopted child, many people always asked me: “what is your heritage?” Or, “are you mixed with asian”? I always had so much curiosity about that, but I was always shy and didn’t want my parents to feel rejected if I asked something about my biological background.
My adoptive father was able to tell me a little bit of the whole story of my birth and about my biological parents before he passed away. He told me that I was born in a small community and that my mother didn’t have enough food to feed me well, and that she asked them to let my hair grow as a part of the indigenous traditions.
About 2 years ago, I heard about those DNA tests and I tried it. When I saw the results I was shocked to see the amount of indigenous Brazilian DNA I carry because the majority of indigenous people were massacred and killed throughout history.
Little by little, like a puzzle, this information gave me strength and belonging. I began to put the pieces together about all the information that I had in my life, about my background and everything began to make sense. I started to learn more about the culture and traditions, about honoring the ancestors, respecting and caring for nature; all these things give me strength when I feel that I can’t go through some situations.
The native people have suffered tremendous losses since the colonizers came to the American continent, they spread diseases, war for territory, were forced to believe in their religion and were not allowed to speak the language and have the traditions.
I’m so glad to see nowadays more knowledge about the native people; indigenous influencers and tik tokers are showing a lot of the culture to the world and putting effort in keeping the traditions alive. Social media influencers such as @shinanova, @thenotoriouscree, @hateepah and others are showing to the world that we indigenous people are here nowadays, alive; that we are brave and resilient.