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ÍndioEduca – fighting prejudice with OER

11. Jun 2015 Contributed by Sebastian Gerlic , Tel Amiel

IndioEduca is a network that by means of informal education aims to fight ethnic discrimination. The group created a platform for intercultural dialogue where natives from all over Brazil share their feelings, ideas and opinions on many different topics.

Screenshot of the indio educa portal

The initiative was focused on the most request questions and doubts raised by teachers and students in regards to the culture of native populations. More than 10 natives from different groups and regions of Brazil post multimedia content and answer questions raised online, especially from teachers and students. Through a federal law (11.654/2008) Brazilian schools must teach native history and culture in schools and IndioEduca can support teachers and students in this regard. Therefore, content was written with a “pedagogical outlook” to demystify some of the most generalized prejudices evident in Brazilian society. These include: Do native Brazilians walk naked? Do they eat humans? Do they live in huts?

The non-governmental group “Thydêwá” initiated the IndioEduca project, which was financed in 2011 for a little less than one year by the Brazil Foundation agency. The project then offered action research scholarships to natives so that they could spend their time on the site, dialoguing with the world and reducing prejudices.

Native writers have produced over 220 CC BY-licensed entries about “being a native” in the format of question and answers, generating over 1305 public comments. Many teacher have used the available content to prepare their lessons and then share them online. It is also common that teachers schedule an online chat or conversation and post comments on the site. We have also seen cases where teachers will use the computer lab to research for content, conduct research and comment on the site as a group activity.

Thydêwá has its headquarters in the region of Olivença (state of Bahia), called the “Tupinambá Territory of Olivença”, a region which is in the process of demarcation since 2009. Much violence has been brought to the region, causing suffering to the 7000 natives and approximately 5000 small farmers - generated by the lack of action by the state, which privileges a small group of large landowners connected to hereditary political forces.

The questions posted on the site make clear that we are still far from being a country where diversity and dialogue are cherished as a potency, beauty, richness and pride for all of us!

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