By Reed Johnson on October 24-25th, 2015
With all the hype surrounding the upcoming 2016 Olympics in Brazil next year, recently there was a less publicized sports competition in Palmas, Brazil, the first Indigenous World Games. Last month, this competition highlighted lesser known indigenous traditions and cultures from around the world. Along with showcasing the talent and strengths of the competing athletes, a three day festival ensued with the purpose of providing education and awareness to key issues plaguing different indigenous communities. These issues included education, the environment, health, and social issues that are commonly plaguing the communities. Among addressing societal issues, there was a major focus on sustainability. All the athletes’ training and living facilities were made from temporary and sustainable materials. Saplings were planted for each tree cut down for the making of logs, canoes, bows, and arrows.
The games themselves were not the key marketing focus. Organizers wanted to find a way to bring awareness of these diminishing cultures to popular culture. So many of the youth in these cultures have been affected by global marketing influences in the last few years. The youth have increasingly abandon tribal dress and rituals, and migrated from tribal lands to live a more socially-acceptable lifestyle in urban areas. In the article, organizers spoke to the desire to “create lasting bonds of friendship and knowledge among far-flung peoples united by ancient ties to the earth.” This goal is a reference to Chapter 1 in our text regarding how organizations can develop a global awareness strategy by instilling a culture of tolerance and nurturing long-term cross cultural relationships.