Darcy Ribeiro

Darcy Ribeiro was a Brazilian educator, politician, ethnologist, anthropologist and writer. His studies were essential to leverage a new educational reform in Brazil.

In the area of ​​anthropology, he deepened the analysis of indigenous communities. The main concept spread by him was that of cultural identity .

Biography of Darcy Ribeiro

Darcy Ribeiro was born in Montes Claros, Minas Gerais, on October 26, 1922. Her father Reginaldo Ribeiro dos Santos, was a pharmacist; and his mother, Josefina Augusta da Silveira, was a teacher.

He studied elementary and high school in his hometown. He joined the Faculty of Medicine, but abandoned his studies when he decided to work in the area of ​​political science. From there, he went to São Paulo to study anthropology graduating in 1946.

With his knowledge in this area, Darcy decided to study the indigenous communities of Brazil. Between 1949 and 1951 he worked at the Indian Protection Service.

He was director and collaborator of the foundation of the Museu do Índio and participated in the creation of the Xingu indigenous park.

Darcy Ribeiro and Education

Darcy, who worked at the Ministry of Education and Culture, was a great articulator of teaching in Brazil.

He had a very important professional relationship with educator Anísio da Teixeira . Together, they founded the University of Brasilia (UNB) and were deans.

With this intellectual, Darcy was an advocate for the democratization of public and quality education for all.

The anthropologist was the creator of the State University of the North Fluminense (UENF) that today bears his name: State University of the North Fluminense Darcy Ribeiro. Its headquarters are in Campos dos Goytacazes, in the state of Rio de Janeiro.

Darcy was a professor of Anthropology at the School of Public Administration at Fundação Getúlio Vargas. He also taught classes in Brazilian Ethnography and Tupi Language at the National Faculty of Philosophy.

With the arrival of the Dictatorship in Brazil, Darcy went into exile in Uruguay where he stayed for some years. Accompanied by his wife Berta Gleizer Ribeiro (1924-1997), also an anthropologist, they lived in Venezuela, Chile and Peru.

Back in Brazil, Darcy participated in the creation of the Integrated Public Education Centers (CIEP). His proposal was to combine formal studies with cultural activities. Still in the area of ​​education, he participated in the drafting of the Law of Guidelines and Bases (LDB).

Read more about Education in Brazil .

Culture and Politics

Darcy was the creator of the Memorial da América Latina , founded in 1989. It is a cultural center located in São Paulo.

In the area of ​​politics, he was vice-governor of Rio de Janeiro working alongside Leonel Brizola. In addition, he was a senator from Rio de Janeiro, a position he held until his death.

As head of the Civil House he worked in the elaboration of the basic reforms.

Brazilian Academy of Letters

On October 8, 1992 Darcy was elected to occupy Chair No. 11 of the Brazilian Academy of Letters (ABL). His inauguration took place on April 15, 1993.

“ The clearest lesson I can draw from my struggling life is that, apparently generous and altruistic, in fact, I was and am a selfish person. It was from them that the praises and gratitudes came to me that most warmed my heart. Mainly from them comes the decorum and dignity that my life has. I am the true beneficiary of my benevolence. Life gave me a lot. Thanks, they have been worth the penalties.

Today, here I am happy, in front of my peers, in this high academic landing. I never expected it to reach you. Fearing the contrary, he belittled him, envious. However, it came to me, at the right time of that old age that I enter, even though I was not stumbling, to comfort me from it. Together, here we will live, like the aspired immortality, ours to the conclusive ones. Living friendly in what we are: a faithful sample of Brazilian intelligence, as varied as itself. That’s all. Thank you very much . ” (Inauguration speech)

See also: Formation of the Brazilian People: history and miscegenation

Death of Darcy Ribeiro

Darcy died at the age of 74 in Brasilia, on February 17, 1997, victim of cancer. In his memoir he wrote:

” I end my life already exhausted from living, but wanting more life, more love, more knowledge, more antics .”

Works by Darcy Ribeiro

Darcy produced several works and essays in the areas of anthropology, sociology and education. In addition, he wrote some novels.

  • Indigenous cultures and languages ​​of Brazil (1957)
  • The Brazilian indigenous policy (1962)
  • The necessary university (1969)
  • Indians and civilization (1970)
  • Brazilians – Theory of Brazil (1972)
  • Historical and cultural configurations of the American peoples (1975)
  • The dilemma of Latin America (1978)
  • Our school is a calamity (1984)
  • Latin America: the great homeland (1986)
  • The Brazilian people (1995)


  • Maíra (1976)
  • The Mule (1981)
  • Wild Utopia (1982)
  • Migo (1988)

The Brazilian People: work by Darcy Ribeiro

Based on his ethnographic experiences, Darcy was a great defender of indigenous communities and disseminator of the concept of cultural identity .

When publishing in 1995 his masterpiece ” O Povo Brasileiro – the formation and the meaning of Brazil “, Darcy addresses the ethnic formation of the Brazilian people.

He categorized these formative matrices into 5 types :

  • Backcountry Brazil;
  • Creole Brazil;
  • Caboclo Brazil;
  • Country Brazil;
  • Southern Brazil.

“ All of us, Brazilians, are the flesh of the flesh of those pleaded blacks and Indians. All of us Brazilians are, equally, the possessed hand that begged them. The most tender sweetness and the most atrocious cruelty here came together to make us the felt and suffered people that we are and the insensitive and brutal people that we are also. Descendants of slaves and slave masters, we will always be servants of the evil distilled and installed in us, both by the feeling of pain intentionally produced to hurt more, and by the exercise of brutality over men, over women, over children turned into pasture of our fury.

The most terrible of our inheritances is that of always carrying the scar of a torturer imprinted on the soul and ready to explode in racist and class brutality . ”

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