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“Performance and Roots: Contemporary Indigenous Performances and Community Mobilizations,” the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics’ 5th Encuentro in Belo Horzonte, 2005, afforded many opportunities to interrogate the ideas of “Indigenousness” and “performance.” Ironically, the event that provoked the most dialogue and heated debate was the least promoted. On March 12, the Kaiapó and Maxacalí gave farewell performances in a courtyard between meetings. Other performers then contributed their visions of indigenousness, political interventions, and (intentionally or not) challenges for us to reconsider the cultural performance genres we anticipated. The unprogrammed spontaneity of these incommensurable representational and performative projects, in this unofficial, liminal time and space, disrupted the stereotypical scenario of indigenous performance for culturally different spectators. Participants –both spectators and performers --were fascinated, confused, and uncomfortable with our confusion and fascination. In short, we were confronted with a paradigm-breaking scenario, indicative of an emergent heterogeneous and cosmopolitan field of indigeneity.

This web cuaderno was created for the Spring 2005 Performance of/and Indigenity class at NYU. It presents my audio-visual records of this event, edited and analyzed from my partial and incomplete perspective. I hope it will encourage the many dialogues begun at the Encuentro to continue, and enable our colleagues who were not present to participate. I am interested in hearing other perspectives, contextual information, and interpretations.