Move over Olympics, bring on World Indigenous Games

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World Indigenous Games

Move over the Olympics. First, Brazil’s hosting games for the world’s indigenous tribes, featuring traditional arrow shooting and a little-known cousin of football.

As Rio de Janeiro gears up for next year’s Summer Olympics, the city of Palmas in the Amazon jungle state of Tocantins is staging the World Indigenous Games from October 23 to November 1, the state tourism agency said Tuesday.

Twenty four Brazilian ethnic groups and another 22 from around the world will take part, the agency said in a statement.

One of the most intriguing events will be Xikunahity, otherwise known as head football, a South American tribal game where competitors play the ball with their heads.

Athletics and swimming are also featured, but archery — long a hunting skill practiced in Latin America’s jungles — is likely to be hotly contested.

One indigenous youth, Dream Braga, has already made Brazil’s national archery team after taking part in a program meant to encourage native bowmen to transfer their expertise at shooting fish and other animals to sport.

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