Brazil’s Ministry of Education (MEC) allocated US$ 414,000 (1 million reais) from the Literate Brazil program to edit indigenous literary works, which have already been selected and are on their way to the printers.
Initially, there will be 22 titles with editions in varying quantities and in different languages, such as macaxali, pataxó, xakriabá, xavante, and bororo.
According to the general coordinator of Indigenous School Instruction in the MEC, Kleber Gesteira, part of the collection will be distributed by year-end to schools in indigenous villages.
“The works are so that people who are learning to read and write or who have just become literate have reading material in their mother tongue,” he explained. The partnership to produce the books is between Literate Brazil and the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG).
The books were writtten by indigenous authors, most of whom live near the Negro and Xingu Rivers and come from the states of Mato Grosso, Pernambuco, Minas Gerais, and Amazonas. According to Gesteira, some of the funds from Literate Brazil will be used in 2006.
There are presently 2,228 indigenous schools in Brazil, with 147 thousand students enrolled in basic education. Approximately 90% of the 7,500 teachers who work at these schools are also of indigenous origin.
In 2006, in addition to the literary works, the communities will receive CDs, DVDs, videotapes, maps, games, and posters. They are part of the teaching materials to be used in the classroom.
A group of 71 projects designed to valorize the oral culture of these peoples was analyzed in Brasília at a meeting of the Commission for the Support of the Production of Teaching Materials (Capema). The commission is made up of 16 members, including eight indigenous teachers, as well as educational specialists.