Bolsonaro Government Appoints Indigenous Evangelist to Head Sector of Uncontacted Indians

Pastor Ricardo Lopes Dias worked on an American evangelizing mission criticized by chiefs of the Amazon


The Ministry of Justice on Wednesday (5), appointed the evangelical pastor Ricardo Lopes Dias as head of the coordination of isolated Indians of Funai, an area considered one of the sensitive sectors of the agency for dealing with the most vulnerable indigenous population.

Dias worked "for more than a decade," according to him, at the American entity Missão Novas Tribos do Brasil (MNTB), which has been evangelizing indigenous people in the Amazon since the 1950s.

The appointment, published in the Federal Official Gazette, was signed by the executive secretary of the ministry, Luiz Pontel, number two in the portfolio of Minister Sergio Moro, to which Funai (Fundação Nacional do Índio) is subordinate.

Kawahiva indigenous, in Brazil - Funai

Funai records 28 confirmed records of isolated indigenous groups in six states in the Brazilian Legal Amazon.

Since last week, the choice of Dias has been criticized by organizations such as the Articulation of the Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (Apib), the Union of Indigenous Peoples of the Javari Valley (Univaja), the Indigenistas Associados (INA) - formed by employees of the company itself Funai -, Cimi (Indigenous Missionary Council), linked to CNBB (National Conference of Bishops of Brazil) and even Conic (National Council of Christian Churches in Brazil), composed of evangelical churches.

The Federal Public Defender's Office even asked Funai for explanations about the criteria used for choosing public office holders in the agency.

Translated by Kiratiana Freelon

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