Brazil’s First World Indigenous Games Highlights Indigenous Cultures from Around the World

The first World Indigenous Games are wrapping up this weekend in South America. Indigenous people from all over the world have converged on Palmas, Brazil to participate in a sporting event similar to the Olympics. But you won’t find volleyball or water polo there – the sports are all rooted in indigenous culture. Check out the photos.

2,000 athletes participated – both men and women. 22 countries were represented.

Tribes got the chance to showcase their native garb and dance during the opening ceremony.

Credit: Buda Mendes / Getty

Traditional indigenous music pulsed through the games for the past week.

There was tug-o-war…


Credit: Buda Mendes / Getty

Jikunahati is a form of soccer that is played using ones head rather than the feet.


Credit: Buda Mendes / Getty

And, of course, the World Indigenous Games wouldn’t be complete without canoeing.

Credit: Buda Mendes / Getty

Though the waters in Brazil aren’t known to be the cleanest.

There was also an indigenous beauty contest where each culture was highlighted for its beauty.

Credit: @XHNews / Twitter

The 9-day event was not just about competition.

Many of the participants and spectators took this event to share and learn from each other’s tribes.

Several indigenous people of Brazil protested during one night of events, causing the competitions to end early.

PEC215 is a controversial bill that is directly impacting the indigenous people of Brazil.

After the protests, the World Indigenous Games resumed and athletes took to the fields the next day.


What do you think about the World Indigenous Games? Share this story with your friends to show them how badass indigenous culture can be.

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