January 29, 2000
Brazilian government fires legendary Indian expert

                  RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (AP) -- The government's Indian Affairs Bureau
                  has fired its founder and most distinguished Indian expert, Orlando Villas
                  Boas, to save his salary of 730 dollars a month, the man said Saturday.

                  Villas Boas, 86, said he was notified of his dismissal by fax. The explanation
                  from the bureau, known as Funai, was that he wasn't entitled to a salary
                  since he was awarded a special pension last year, also of 730 dollars a
                  month, or 1,315 reals.

                  "I never made much money, and a thousand more or less won't make much
                  difference. It's the way I was fired," Villas Boas said by telephone from his
                  home in Sao Paulo.

                  "I and my brothers created Funai. I chose the name. After 40, 50 years,
                  Funai decides I'm not worth anything," he said. "I guess we're just like the
                  Indians -- unprotected by the state."

                  No one was available at Funai on Saturday to comment. Bureau President
                  Frederico Mares de Souza Filho, who signed the fax, reportedly was visiting
                  tribes in the Amazon region.

                  Orlando, Claudio, Alvaro and Leonardo Villas Boas were pioneers in
                  Brazil's Amazon, pushing into the uncharted jungle in the 1940s to make
                  contact with tribes that had never seen Westerners. They witnessed the harm
                  that roads and airstrips caused to Indians and became outspoken defenders
                  of Indian rights.

                  Orlando and Claudio, the most famous of the four, eventually moved in with
                  Indians and stayed for 32 years. In 1961, they persuaded the government to
                  create its first, and probably most successful, reservation -- Xingu National

                  Seventeen Indian nations were transferred from ancestral lands to the 5.6
                  million-acre park in northern Mato Grosso state, 870 miles (1,400
                  kilometers) northwest of Rio de Janeiro. Today, more than 3,000 Indians
                  live there in relative isolation from white culture.

                  Orlando, the last surviving brother, urged the Indians to resist intrusion by
                  any means necessary. He is revered by tribal leaders, and in 1998 was
                  honored in Xingu at a Kuarup, a scared ritual for the dead, in tribute to his
                  deceased brothers.

                    Copyright 2000 The Associated Press.