“I am a woman who still cries; By so great darkness; My essence is here; Inside my heart; Of a bloodied Brazil; Where no one is to blame; Woman of the same nation!”
Thus springs from the land of Ceará, one of the poems of the writer of the Tabajara people, Auritha. Her ancestral name signs the books, poems and strings of the 38-year-old woman that the white man forced her to register as Aurilene. A native of the northeast of Ceará, Auritha put on her high heels and landed in São Paulo amidst the chaos of the largest Brazilian city.
Right away, the writer got off on Avenida Paulista, “I was thrown right on [Avenida] Paulista when I arrived, it was a shock. I got dizzy looking at those buildings. It felt like I wasn't breathing. When I got out of the car, the first thing I felt was the weight of pollution,” she vented.
His arrival in São Paulo was the result of the end of a relationship. Before coming to meet relatives and people from other indigenous peoples, the writer lived in a village 370km away from the capital of Ceará. In the village where she lived, down-to-earth was the law, at least for Auritha. She misses the freedom that nature offered. “In São Paulo”, she says, “I missed something in my feet and only later did I understand that I could not forget my ancestors or distance myself from them”.
“To step on the ground, you have to step firmly. It is different to step on the ground in the village and on the ground in the city”
The creative process of the author of “Indian Teaching in Verse and Poetry” has lost some of its freedom, because Auritha writes at dawn under a tree that seems pleasant to her. However, in the big city, full of walls that navigate between gray, pixo, graffiti and lambe-lambe, it is difficult to sit under a tree, even more so without putting your own safety at risk.
Published in 2010, his book, as its name says, was born in the teaching profession studied in his home state. The work was born on the first day of studies. After class, Auritha would turn her reports into cordel, a style that had caught her attention since she learned to read and write, at age 9. Today, “Indigenous Teaching in Verse and Poetry” was adopted by the Secretary of Education of the State of Ceará as a mandatory work in public schools.
the indigenous woman
Auritha is the granddaughter of one of the greatest storytellers of the Tabajara people, Francisca Gomes. She follows in her grandmother's footsteps and also promotes storytelling to keep the oral culture of her ancestors alive. In addition, she is also a healer, uses knowledge passed down through generations and from herbs and plants to cultivate Tabajara customs. Just like her grandmother, Auritha exudes wisdom even in the moments when words run away and there is no air.
In São Paulo, Auritha takes her storytelling to the classrooms of several schools. On one of these occasions, she had to deal with prejudice and common sense once again. Appearing at the classroom door, Auritha watched the teacher say “India has arrived, you don't need to be afraid”. Already surprised, the worst happened when entering the room, “how does the Indian do? We trained, remember?” continued the teacher. The students, in chorus, reproduced the sounds wrongly attributed to indigenous peoples. Embarrassed and disheartened, Auritha gathered her strength and told her story.
“That day I almost didn't want to tell my story, thinking that those children already had that vision of the Indian. Daniel [Munduruku] says that anyone who really wants to know what an Indian is needs to look it up in the periodic table, because we are a metal.”
That [Indian] is the nickname they gave us. That does not exist.
Asked about difficulties in the publishing sector, Auritha categorically stated that she had never suffered gender discrimination in her village or from people of other peoples. However, she reported difficulties when arriving in São Paulo. Studying to enter a university course for the first time, the writer and one of the members of the Council of Indigenous Peoples of the City of São Paulo, suffered racism. “On the first day of classes in the pre-university course at PUC, I introduced myself as a Northeasterner, as an indigenous woman and I heard laughter. Afterwards, a classmate came to me to ask, among other things, what I was doing here in São Paulo?”, she said.
The dream of studying Literature was interrupted there. “I dropped out of the course at that moment, but I'm still going to graduate,” he explained to the report. For her, getting a degree goes beyond Western man's notions of employability. “We need to know other worlds. Mainly I who want to continue within literature, titles end up being important for society, we have to have the ancestral knowledge of our people, but we have to have this knowledge of this world in which we have to be in the same vocabulary, even to demand our rights”.
For Auritha, ancestry is everything. Her name, she explained, means stone of light. She says she would have liked to have been registered under her real name, but celebrates having managed to register her daughter, despite the notary's resistance, with her ancestral name.
“It was my grandmother, midwife, healer and storyteller, who took me in her arms for the first time in the world. She was the one who called me Auritha.”