Pope angers Brazilian Indians

May 18, 2007

Survival International reported on May 15 that Brazilian Indians were angered when Pope Benedict XVI, during his recent visit to Brazil, claimed that their ancestors had been "silently longing" to become Christians when Brazil was colonised five centuries ago. According to the BBC, the Pope also claimed that the imposition of Christianity on the region "had not involved an alienation of the pre-Colombian cultures". Jecinaldo Satere Mawe, from the Amazonian Satere Mawe tribe, said the Pope's comments were "arrogant and disrespectful". The Catholic Church's Indian advocacy group in Brazil called the Pope's statement "wrong and indefensible". Brazil's indigenous population is today less than 7% of what it was in 1500, and of 1000 distinct tribes, only around 220 remain. For more information visit < http://www.survival-A HREF="mailto:international.org"><international.org>.

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