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June 06, 2007

About the triplets.

All of those who were worried about the Ikpeng triplets can relax. Yesterday, we received wonderful news about them. Kumaré, the children's uncle, came to speak to us in the office at ATINI in Brasilia. Kumaré is not just their uncle, but is also the head of the FUNAI post in the area. It was he who sent the message to us asking for the immediate return of the children to their tribal village claiming a cultural problem...

Kumaré came to get the rest of the donations that were still us (a cradle, a pram, nappies (diapers), baby clothes.). Slowly, he started explaining what had happened. He said that every baby in their tribal village, has to go through an initiation ritual upon reaching more or less three months of age. It's in this ritual that the baby is officially integrated into the community and the forest surroundings. Due to the fact that twins are not accepted, they never go through this ritual. In the case of these triplets, the situation changed and started to weigh heavily on the minds of the other tribal villagers. Seeing that the parents had already refused to sacrifice the babies, they were now growing and something had to be done. Would the family go ahead with the ritual or not? During this time, the tribal chief arranged a meeting for all of the villagers and made a decision. "This is a new situation. Even though you do not accept these children, you need to respect Kumaré's will, who is their uncle and the head of the FUNAI post. Go and get these children ready for the ritual. We are going to receive them into our community."

With this, an ancestral tradition was broken. Ragal, Katiparu and Piatariwere were accepted and it was time for a big celebration. Kumaré requested a flight from the FUNASA and soon after, the family was in the tribe. The children's hair was cut and their small bodies were painted in patterns that imitate small fish. The children's parents, aunts and uncles and grandfather were all overjoyed. People, who in the past had avoided them and spat on them, had a change of heart. The babies were held in arms while the entourage followed behind, being shown the way of the forest, the way of the river and the way of the land. The celebrations went on for many days and everything went well.

After the ritual, the family went to the town of Sinop, because their father was contracted by the UNIFESP (Federal University of São Paulo) to work with an indigenous health program. With the salary that he received, he was able to rent a small house in Sinop where he will stay with the family. Even with the acceptance of the children by the community, they believe that it will be better to stay in the town for a while, as they don't have the resources to raise the children without outside help. They continue to need milk donations, nappies (diapers) and baby clothes.

ATINI will continue to support this family and will ensure that all donations get to them. With your help, we can help leaders like Kumaré and parents like Marité to make a difference. We will, little by little succeed in eradicating infanticide within the indigenous communities in Brazil. Join with us.

Uma voz pela vida

Fale conosco

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