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Land, racism and health issues test Brazil's Indians

As Brazil commemorates its national Indian Day, indigenous leaders say the government is failing to address land, health and discrimination problems.

Brazil's Indian population was once believed to be around 5 million but now number about 400,000. They suffer from high rates of infant mortality, alcoholism, diabetes and other diseases. With death rates three to four times the national average, some tribes are seeing their population dwindle to the dozens.

The government has set aside reserves for tribes but about 30 percent of the Indian land base has yet to be assigned. Trespass on Indian lands is common and violence with settlers and others is often bloody.

Get the Story:
In Brazil, It's Always Open Season on Indians (Brazzil Magazine April 2004)
Brazil Police Recover 26 Bodies in Amazon Killings (Reuters 4/19)