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By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter

SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Thousands of indigenous people from at least 22 countries around the world are gathering in the Amazon region to compete in sporting events and share part of their culture with other groups in the 2015 Indigenous Games.

Indigenous Games to Start in Brazil's Amazon Region, Brazil, Palmas, indigenous games
Thousands of indigenous people from at least 22 countries around the world are gathering in the Amazon region to compete in sporting events, photo by Marcelo Camargo/Agência Brasil.

Although to organizers the Games are much more about celebration than about competition players will have a chance to show their expertise in activities such as tug of war, archery and spear toss as well as more ‘conventional’ games such as football (soccer).

The official opening of the Games will be on Friday, October 23rd and will go until October 31st. Until the games start, there will be activities exclusively for the indigenous participants, in restricted areas where the press and non-indigenous are not allowed.

“There are certain rules in our communities which we can not reveal,” said Chief Davi Kaiapó, from a Brazilian group to news outlet Agencia Brasil. “We, indigenous, practice a very strong ritual. We want our privacy.”

According to the indigenous chief it is very important for groups to observe and get to know other cultures, exchanging information. “Many have at one time been our enemies. Now they are friends.”

Technical discussions on Wednesday and Thursday, by group leaders, will set up game rules for the contestants. In addition to sport events there will be also a cultural festival, where different groups will have a chance to show their dance and their music to others.

According to organizers, sharing and disseminating the different cultures is as important as competing in sports events.

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