No Indian Candidate, Among 24, Won in Brazil’s October 1st Election

In the elections held on October 1st, in Brazil, five indigenous people ran for House representative and 19 for state assemblyman. None of them was elected. In 2002, three indigenous people ran for federal representative and 17 for state representative.

The new fact is that the number of votes on indigenous people increased. Together, all the candidates for federal representative received 17,065 votes. In 2002, they received 4,282 votes. As for votes in state representatives, they increased from 9,089 in 2002 to 19,752 in 2006.

The indigenous candidate for state representative with the highest number of votes was Adir Tikuna, from the state of Amazonas, who got 5,679 votes. The representative who was elected with the lowest number of votes in the state of Amazonas got 7,569 votes.

In 2004, when Brazilians elected mayors and city councils, 70% of the Brazilian Indians voted. More than 350 of them were candidates. At that time, four were elected mayors and about 95 won a seat as a city council member.

Mário Juruna, a Xavante Indian, from Mato Grosso state, was the first and only Indian until now to win a post outside the city limits.

He became a House representative in 1982, elected by the state of Rio de Janeiro. Juruna, who died in 2002, was known for carrying a tape-recorder wherever he went. He needed to do this, he said because politicians many times lied to him.

Kidnapping

On September 30, eve of the election, a group of Colinas Indians kidnapped seven people: two military policeman and five others who had been drafted to work for the elections. The abduction occurred in Juruá, a city 1,000 km. from Manaus, the capital of Amazonas state.

According to a director of the National Election Board, Athayde Fontoura, "The Indians wanted to swap the hostages for food and gas, but they didn’t get anything." 

The state Military Police and the electoral justice were called, but the kidnapping only ended after the intervention of the Funai, the National Indian Foundation.

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