Introduction

"The Indian Statute" is the name attributed to Law 6.001. Promulgated in 1973, it contains rules on the relations of the state and Brazilian society with the indigenous communities. In general lines, the state followed a principle established by the Old Brazilian civil code of 1916 , that the Indians are “relatively capable”, and should be tutored by a state indigenous institution, (from 1910 to 1967 )the Serviço de Proteção ao Indio/SPI; currently Fundação Nacional do Indio, (Funai) until they are fully integrated in the national community, that is, integrated in Brazilian society.

The 1973 Statute continues in force. However, it is in violent confrontation with various features of the Federal Constitution of 1998, granting greater rights to indigenous peoples. The 1988 Constitution does not call for the integration of the indigenous peoples into Brazilian society, ensuring them, on the contrary, the right for them to be different from the rest of the country.

In 1994 a new statute was proposed and approved by a special commission of the Chamber of Deputies. The passage of the bill was blocked however for six years. At the present time new proposals, including some from the government, have been examined in Congress but it is not certain whether the new statute will be approved.