From the mid-1960s, Brazilian and European activists collaborated to raise awareness about human rights violations in Brazil, which at the time was under an authoritarian military regime. From reports on torture, to week-long conferences, cultural events, boycotts, petitions and protests, a wide range of activities contributed to the emerging transnational human rights movement. For the most part, activists focused on the themes of political repression, torture, inequality and development. However, at some point during the dictatorship, the discourse of Brazilians—and, by association, of their solidarity networks—began to address the indigenous question, raising indigenous peoples’ struggles as a matter of human rights, as valid as any other, and contributing to their salience within the domains of international human rights organizations and institutions. Given the Brazilian Left’s failures to cohesively mobilize for indigenous rights thus far, this change in discourse is deserving of further attention. In this article, I address the emergence of indigenous rights within the Western European network of solidarity movements comprising resistance to Brazil’s military regime. These debates, as components of the transnational human rights movement of the 1970s, can be used to better understand the behaviour of Brazil’s Left in this international setting, as well as the wider movement itself. Furthermore, it will be shown that indigenous rights were portrayed through the conceptual framework of ‘Latin American Theory’, as opposed to more commonly cited concepts of minority rights or multicultural citizenship.
- Indigenous rights
- Solidarity activism