Are Walking Birds
The Tupinambá People request an audience with His Holiness Pope Francis

Olivença, November 3rd 2023

Greetings from the Holy Spirit,
May the peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you,

In the face of the variations of the universe, I come to present myself to Your Holiness. I am Glicéria Tupinambá, born in the Tupinambá Territory of Olivença, in the South of Bahia, where there are around twenty-two Indigenous communities. This territory, rightfully ours, has been awaiting the signing of its demarcation since 2009. It is the target of various forms of violence from both the State and powerful entities.

History reveals to us the extent of violations and dispossession that we Indigenous peoples have suffered over the centuries. Following the timeline of history, I am certain I have encountered an interesting challenge: to demonstrate how the papal bulls established by previous Popes before Your Holiness have left a nefarious legacy, generating collateral effects that continue to manifest to this day, justifying the theft of our lands, the persecution of our culture, our religion, and our way of life.

We are aware that Your Holiness revoked such bulls that legitimized the Doctrine of Discovery, but their effects are still felt today. Because of them, kings established laws of ‘just wars’ against our nation, resulting in the non-recognition of our lands up to the present day. We are considered foreigners within our own territory.

Amidst such adversity, the Encantados, our guardians who emerged with the creation of humanity, have given me the following task: to recover the ancestral techniques of making the Sacred Tupinambá Mantles – and so I have done. The Tupinambá mantle also commanded me to gather all the objects, adornments, decorations, and instruments that, along with the mantles, compose our ancestral rituals.

I see fragments of history that demonstrate that the Jesuit priests made efforts to combat our Tupinambá religion. To prove our conversion and that of our religious leaders, they confiscated our mantles, removing them from the villages and sending them to their superiors in Rome. According to one of the writings I consulted, the Jesuits took ten Tupinambá mantles all at once. I also know that in the Vatican, there is a notebook of dreams of Catarina Paraguassu and an important stone for our communication with the divinities. Everything remained in the possession of the priests.

I come from a lineage of Tupinambá Pajés. The founders of our religion were Tamandaré and Tupandecy. The latter was burned at the stake by the Holy Inquisition. History owes us a lot. Due to the importance of this debt, I request an audience with Your Holiness to fulfill the request of our Encantados. They know more than I do. Beyond correcting the writing of history, the Encantados ask us to confront the evil that came from the other side of the ocean and crossed it, an evil that afflicts humanity and that we have been unable to stop to this day.

This struggle does not depend solely on us, Indigenous peoples. We need, together with Your Holiness, to see the magnitude of this invisible enemy of ours, to make it stop trying to swallow the earth.

I have hope and I want to share it with Your Holiness. I would like to know if in your dreams the Holy Spirit has come to speak to you about the future of this world. I would like to know if Your Holiness also feels the urgency of our meeting.

I know that changes are slow and few, but their rebound effect is greater in the future. I am fighting for possible futures. I hope Your Holiness is too.


May the Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be always with Your Holiness!
May our glorious Saint Sebastian always be in our defense!


Glicéria Tupinambá
on behalf of Associação dos Índios Tupinambá da Serra do Padeiro, Bahia