When the Portuguese “discovered” Brazil this country was already inhabited by 2 million indigenous people.

This destroyed those people.

Little Indian Guarani in St. Michael of the Missions ©Germano Schüür

Image ©Germano Schüür

São Miguel das Missões (Portuguese for St. Michael of the Missions) is a Unesco World Heritage site located in the small town of São Miguel das Missões in the northwestern region of Rio Grande do Sul, a state in southern Brazil. It is also known as São Miguel Arcanjo and by its Spanish language name San Miguel. It was one of the many Jesuit Reductions in Argentina and Brazil. Jesuit missionaries founded the mission in the 18th century in part to catechise the Guaraní indian population and to protect the natives from Spanish and Portuguese slave traders.

Façade of São Miguel das Missões.The Mission was built from around 1735 to around 1745. Despite the efforts of the Jesuits, the slave trade of the Spanish and Portuguese empires eventually conquered and the Mission was abandoned. The Cathedral in nearby Santo Ângelo city is modeled after the São Miguel das Missões reduction. (Wikipedia)

Civilisation and Humanity

When I read of the injustices, the massacres and the plight of these peoples I feel sad, more, much more than sad, it reduces me to tears. We call it civilisation, there is nothing civilised about what we have done to these people; we talk about humanity, there is nothing humane about what we have done to these people.

Yet we still do it. It began with the Portuguese and Spanish churches, it continues unabated today. We have to satisfy the Western world’s insatiable greed and in doing so we destroy everything that was beautiful around us. The people, the rainforest, the land, everything.

The Mission

Have you ever seen the film The Mission?

The film portrays the destruction of the Jesuit missions and the terrible consequences for the indigenous people, it is terribly tragic.

It happened.

We did it.

And we have never shown any remorse.

I suggest that if you want to understand the brutality that we have perpetrated on these peoples, watch it.

You’ll watch it and weep.

If you don’t shed a tear, then perhaps you need to look deep into your soul.