Indigenous Elder in Brazil to present Spiritual Rattle to Indigenous Astronaut in virtual ceremony via the internet.

A ceremonial rattle from Indigenous Elder Alvaro Tukano of the Amazon in Brazil will be presented to Indigenous Astronaut Commander John Herrington during the opening ceremonies of the B.C. First Nations Technology Council’s ICT Summit taking place in Vancouver, B.C., Canada, February 23-25, 2012. Elder Tukano will take part in the event from Brazil via a videoconference that will be streamed live on the Internet from 8:15 am to 10:15 am PST on Thursday, February 23, 2012 at

During the ceremony, the rattle will be physically delivered to Commander Herrington by Tony Belcourt, President of the Indigenous Commission for Communications Technologies in the Americas (ICCTA) who was handed the rattle in 2009 at an Indigenous meeting in Brazil that Commander Herrington attended via videoconference. After Commander Herrington's presentation via the Internet, Elder Tukano said to Tony Belcourt, "Take this rattle to the man who went to the moon".

Rattles, or "maracas" as they are known, are at the core of spiritual and healing practices of the Indigenous peoples of Brazil. The meaning is explained by Elder Tukano this way:

“Maraca is a sacred instrument that has been used by many Indigenous people across Brazil. It is the symbol of our World and our Knowledge that is our Identity. The handle is the main axis that enables the Earth’s rotation. Here we employ (the Maraca) in healing processes through traditional ceremonies and as we govern our people with ethics and dignity. The Maraca is employed to go the stars in order to meet and talk to the spirits; moreover, it is used to heal the people on this planet.”

The First Nations Technology Council has been mandated by the Chiefs of British Columbia to ensure that all of the 203 First Nations in the province have:
• Access to broadband and related technologies
• Citizens with the skills required to use technology
• Qualified, affordable, accessible technical support
• Technologies to support the revitalization of culture and language
• Information Systems (Tools of Governance) to manage their lands and resources and people-based information
• Access to FNTC’s common services to support information management and information technology.

The annual ICT Summit is one of FNTC’s major capacity-building initiatives. The full agenda can be found at

For more information contact:
Tony Belcourt c: 613-791-5056 e:
Sue Hanley c: 778-773-4490 e:


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