Lélia Pereira Nunes, a regular contributor to the Diário dos Açores, was the Coordinator-General, with Luiz Nilton Corrêa, of the 270-year Congress of the Azorean presence in Santa Catarina, Brazil, an organization of the Catarinense Academy of Letters and the Historical Institute and Geographic of Santa Catarina, the two oldest cultural institutions of that state.
How did the idea of having an International Congress came about for congregating so many voices? During the Air Center Meeting last November, here on the Island of Santa Catarina, in a conversation with the Regional Secretary for the Sea, Science and Technology, Gui Manuel Menezes, and the President of Fapesc, Sergio Gargioni, we saw a new way of harmony between the Azores and Santa Catarina based on the look of economic and sustainable development, the potential of the sea that embraces us on both sides. Other voices, speaking of new technologies at the same time as in Universities, Institutes and Academies, spoke of cultural and historical interculturalities. And questions were being debated about the real contribution of cultural diasporas and identity. (…)
The time had come to review these approaches, and in particular, some that had somehow “re-enacted” traditions or labeled “Azorean” in the name of a legacy often debatable as to its truthfulness. Some, for example, as the papaya ox is the fruit of the crucible of miscegenation, of the encounter of cultures – indigenous, Afro, and Portuguese that make up the southern coast of Brazil and is not only Azorean in its entirety. Thus, the 270-year-old Congress was born with eyes focused on the Sea, History, Heritage, Literature and Identity, with the participation of the main researchers in the Humanities and Social Sciences, Sea Sciences and Literatures of Brazil, Portugal and Spain. (…)
There are records of how many Azoreans live today in Santa Catarina? The population of Azorean descent, which brings in the blood ten generations – the Azoreans of 270 years like me – these number about 2 million residents of Santa Catarina, located in 59 municipalities from the coast from Penha and Barra Velha, north to Passos de Torres in the South , border with Rio Grande do Sul. They are municipalities that celebrate and cultivate with rigor the tradition of the Divine Holy Spirit. The “born” Azoreans are few. Some families that arrived in the last century in times of crisis for several Brazilian states, especially Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. For the South of Brazil very few families. (…)
As for the Congress, almost a month after its completion, “It is undeniable pride to be descendants, says Lélia Nunes, Congress Coordinator. (…)