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Man Accused of Abusing Indigenous Women Nominated for Brazilian Prize

Brazilian congressman recommends dismissed teacher for Paulo Freire award.

Andreia Nobre
Andreia Nobre

A leftist politician, congressman and educator, Pedro Kemp, member of the Brazilian Labour Party (Partido dos Trabalhadores) proposed, through the Legislative Assembly of Mato Grosso, the holding of a solemn ceremony in honor of the centenary of the birth of educator Paulo Freire on 20/09/2021. Although the list contains 52 female teachers, the nominee number 65, Neimar Machado de Souza, caused revolt and perplexity among indigenous leaders and the women's movement.

Neimar M. de Sousa is a former professor and ex-coordinator of the Teko Arandu Indigenous Intercultural course at the Intercultural Indigenous Faculty (FAIND) of the Federal University of Grande Dourados (UFGD) and known by women's movements for “disrespecting, violating and criminalizing Kaiowá and Guarani women and female leaders.”

In December 2020, the Movement for the Mutual Support of Women launched the Manifesto, by the Autonomous Collective of Mutual Support for Indigenous Women and the Dourado Women's Movement", already explained that despite "numerous and tireless reports" made against the teacher, the case continued without any resolution or response from the institution where he worked.

The attempt to award the alleged abuser with such an honor was the last straw for the World March of Women in Dourados/MS, which mobilized and repudiated through a manifesto the “condecoration for the centenary of Paulo Freire, to the person of Neimar Machado de Souza (who today, officially, is a former professor at UFGD.)” The same women's movement, together with FAIND, had already filed a complaint against the Professor at UFGD 4 years before this event, but the complaint was archived. Thanks to pressure from the women's movement, the professor was dismissed from his post in 2021.

According to the women’s groups representatives who spoke to 4W.Pub, Pedro Kemp "cannot say that he did not know about the accusations of abuse by Neimar", since the nominee's abuse allegations are prior to the date of the ceremony and were even part of the Partial Report on the Mapping of violence against Kaiowá and Guarani Women, presented in November 2020 at the VIII Kuñangue Aty Guasu, Grand Assembly of Kaiowá and Guarani Women.

One of the accusations attributed to the former teacher was impregnating one of his female students, with whom he claimed to have had a romantic relationship. This information was available on the website of the Court of Justice of Mato Grosso do Sul, where there is a Civil Appeal filed by a woman who claimed she was denouncing “abusive indigenists” - men who use their position of power to access indigenous women. The appeal states that Neimar Machado de Sousa reported a post on social media, which he claimed to be defamatory. According to the document, the Facebook post denouncing Neimar read:

"MACHISTAS (sexist, misogynistic men) WON'T PASS! ABUSIVE PROFESSORS, TEACHERS AND ACADEMICS WON'T PASS! RAPING DRUNK GIRLS IS A CRIME! VIOLATING WOMEN IS A CRIME! NO TO THE SEXIST ‘START OF THE YEAR PRANKS’ (a tradition in Brazil’s universities to build a bond between new and veteran students) AT UNIVERSITY! LET'S REPORT! TEACHERS OR ACADEMICS HAVING SEXUAL RELATIONSHIPS WITH STUDENTS AND GETTING INDIGENOUS WOMEN PREGNANT IS A CRIME."

Neimar brought the author of the post, a woman, to justice for defamation and moral damages. The following link shows the result of the appeal against the complaint of moral damages made to the author of the post by Neimar (In Portuguese). The owner of the post above lost her appeal in March 2021. Even though the teacher is not being prosecuted for the accusations made by indigenous women, he has been dismissed by the university where the abuses would have occurred, after the repercussions of the case and the several complaints made.

Furthermore, there is no news in the newspapers or official documents citing the former professor regarding the complaints made by indigenous women who accuse him of abuse. There is no court case judging the accusations against Neimar - but the former professor filed a defamation suit against those who denounced him.

Even with all the accusations and the dismissal of Neimar Machado de Sousa from UFGD, the collectives that support the struggle of indigenous women stated that Pedro Kemp insisted on paying homage to the alleged abuser. Only after another intervention by the World March of Women, the name Neimar was removed, and the ceremony followed without honoring Neimar.

A translation of the manifesto can be read here for full context:

Dourados, September 23, 2021.
Congressman Pedro Kemp and the Workers Party (PT),
The World March of Women in Dourados/MS, through this manifesto, repudiates the award for the centenary of Paulo Freire, to the person of Neimar Machado de Souza (who today is officially a former professor at UFGD). We suggest to the deputy, the reading of the administrative process that culminated in his dismissal, in all details, as this process is made public for reading after its closing.
We understand that the Workers' Party, which made the election of the only female president of the Republic possible, needs to rigorously evaluate its members, believing that there should be no condescension with manipulative, racist, sexist and misogynist conduct.
Said former professor uses the party as a "shield", as well as other groups to which he belongs and contacts he has, to try to cover up issues that would shame anyone really committed to the responsibility of educator/educator. We understand that it is everyone's duty to walk side by side in the struggle of indigenous peoples, radically combating all forms of violence, as well as abuses of power.
Mato Grosso do Sul has in its native (indigenous) women one of the greatest cultural riches, representing the struggle of native peoples in their tireless resistance fighting against the destruction of nature, against all forms of colonization of peoples, racism, the countless ways of misogynistic violence, so present today as it has been for more than 500 years ago.
In this sense, the World March of Women asks for a position beyond the simple removal of the name in honor of the aforementioned event. We believe that the struggles of the original peoples are the struggles of everyone who believes in another possible world.
Marcha Mundial das Mulheres/Dourados

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BrazilabuseIndigenous

Andreia Nobre

Brazilian journalist and writer, advocate for women and children's rights since very young. I'm passionate about anthropology and how did we come to be culturally diverse.