Indigenous children are raised to develop high autonomy from a young age, a valuable skill in adulthood. That allows them to be surprisingly agile and strong, as well as familiar with their surroundings, writes Sofia Perpetua
An indigenous mother and her child ( Paulo Mumia )
When filmmaker Renee Nader Messora and her husband João Salaviza moved from their home in Sao Paulo to an indigenous Kraho village in Brazil, the couple did not expect to become parents.
But Messora, 40, became pregnant with a girl while directing the movie The Dead and the Others.
When their daughter was born, one of the indigenous actors picked the baby up and began to breastfeed her. “Maybe that could have been weird and confusing to me if she wasn’t a Kraho, but she is a Kraho and I already knew how family dynamics work in the village,” Messora says.
Messora discovered what it takes to raise a child during her time at Pedra Branca, a Kraho village in north-central Brazil, she says. There, she says, the village is the key. And if that means another woman breastfeeds your baby? There’s a beautiful reason for that.