I hope you enjoy this, I always worry about talking about different countries and culture without doing at least three months of research, just to feel like a beginner – but learning is an ongoing process and hopefully several weeks is a good starting point.

Some commonly found texts talk about Tupi peoples (my understanding is that Tupi refers to a broad language group with many sub-groups), as extinct, but that assessment does not match up with the lived practices and cultural identities of people who say “Hello! We’re here!” I’m currently reading anthropological texts about contemporary cultural practices of the Tupinamba people (my understanding is that they are a coastal tribe of the Tupi peoples. I think it’s tribe and not clan/moiety, though sometimes in outsider/layperson/translated texts tribe can be used to describe any grouping of Indigenous peoples regardless of accuracy and I’m not deep or broad enough into my reading to know what’s what) and the visual reference for my drawing of a Tupi person comes from a photograph of a Tupinamba person with a backdrop of high-rise buildings and cars.

Like learning physics and advanced quantum mechanics I know there’s lots to learn and mistakes to make and delights to come if I make errors. I hope I do enough research to make interesting errors and assumptions, not boring, same old errors and assumptions. I wanted to make this comic with research and care and thoughtfulness and aware that my framework is limited when it comes to Brazil, representations of Brazil and its Indigenous peoples. As I was finishing this comic I found out about  worldwide protests demanding a stop to Brazil’s proposed new laws that undermine Indigenous rights! – Thanks Eve for frequently posting about Indigenous stuff on your facebook, you are the best ^_^.

I was also struck by how fabulous Team Brazil were when they came out to play the World Cup in Toronto and I wanted to celebrate that. It can be so challenging starting a league at all, let alone with the tyranny of distance, international borders (the taxes on imports, in Brazil, eeesh! shipping an handling eat your heart out) and Brazil now has 32 new teams!

It’s been cool to see Australian Roller Derby explode into a big and wonderful thing. It’s exciting to see other countries take Roller Derby and make it their own. I’m inspired by how teams and athletes from different countries bring their home grown, looking to the world, drawing from multiple sources, scrappy, unique approaches, differing cultures of femaleness/counter-culture/athleticism and how the sport grows from this diversity.

There’s Roller Derby in Europe, South and Central America, Asia, the Middle East, Africa & Pacifica/Oceania (double checks, I think I got everyone, you can search for leagues in every country here)… it’s exciting and inspiring to see all these grass-roots actions, often in conditions that make participation at all very difficult.

I hope this makes sense! I think about things a lot, which makes it hard to articulate what I mean sometimes. I’m so used to talking to myself and we might not share the same codes and short hands. Anyway, fun and interesting and I feel like I have done great disservice to Brazil, given how big it is, in my lack of nuanced knowledge about it. Fortunately there’s plenty of ways to remedy this hole in my understanding ^_^

Lots of love

L

PS Thanks Jess Nevins for being Mr Helpful Reference Librarian. You are not just helpful, but always working on things that help us recognize and prove with data that the world is a more interesting, diverse and complex place.