Two thousand athletes from around forty ethnic groups from over twenty-five countries, including Russia, will come together for the First World Indigenous Games to be held between October 20 and November 1 in the city of Palmas, capital of Tocantins State, Brazil.
Countdown to the First World Indigenous Games - The First World Indigenous Games will be held the month after the UN World Conference of Indigenous peoples in September and will be celebrated by over two thousand athletes from twenty-four ethnic groups in Brazil along with representatives from the following twenty-five countries: Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Ecuador, The USA, The Philippines, Finland, Guatemala, France (French Guiana), Japan, Mexico, Nicaragua, Norway, New Zealand, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Russia, Uruguay and Venezuela.
The Games will include modalities from Olympic-style events such as soccer, swimming, wrestling and athletics but also traditional indigenous games such as traditional canoeing, archery, xikunahaty (head-football, a game in which a football or soccer ball is controlled using only the head), Corrida da Tora (a team run with a tree trunk), the tug of war, the spear toss and the 100 meter rustic race. There will also be a cultural program, a Social Forum for Indigenous People, an Indigenous Women's Program and festivals which celebrate the diverse cultures from the State of Tocantins and those of indigenous peoples from around the world.
The Forum will discuss indigenous questions and issues such as the right to land and resources, climate change, family agriculture and there will be expositions of gastronomy and handicraft.
Brazil has already hosted 13 Indigenous People's Games and Palmas, capital of Tocantins State, is well prepared for this year's First World Indigenous Games, having its own indigenous population of some ten thousand people in the city itself while seven distinct groups reside in the State - the Krahô, Krahô Canela, Karajá, Karajá Xambioá, Apinajé, Xerente and Javaé, living in 82 communities.
The Games of 2015, under the motto "In 2015, we are all indigenous peoples", are co-organized by the Intertribal Council (ITC) of Marcos Terena, the Brazilian Ministry of Sport and the Municipality of the City of Palmas, Tocantins. The city, home to a total population of 250,000, is celebrating its twenty-fifth anniversary. It was planned in the run-up to the Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit in 1992 and its concept was based around ecology and sustainability.
Palmas enjoys a very high standard of living, is a center of ethnic and cultural diversity, has low crime rates, low pollution levels, is the sixth most developed state capital in Brazil, has a growth rate of some ten per cent per annum, is located right at the heart of Brazil and Latin America and offers tremendous opportunities for investment.
*Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey has worked as a correspondent, journalist, deputy editor, editor, chief editor, director, project manager, executive director, partner and owner of printed and online daily, weekly, monthly and yearly publications, TV stations and media groups printed, aired and distributed in Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, East Timor, Guinea-Bissau, Portugal, Mozambique and São Tomé and Principe Isles; the Russian Foreign Ministry publication Dialog and the Cuban Foreign Ministry Official Publications. He has spent the last two decades in humanitarian projects, connecting communities, working to document and catalog disappearing languages, cultures, traditions, working to network with the LGBT communities helping to set up shelters for abused or frightened victims and as Media Partner with UN Women, working to foster the UN Women project to fight against gender violence and to strive for an end to sexism, racism and homophobia. He is also a Media Partner of Humane Society International, fighting for animal rights.