The Games of the Indigenous People have all of the athletic spirit of an international sporting event, but none of the red tape or out-of-control spending.
There are more than 800,000 indigenous people in Brazil. This week, they're celebrating with their own Olympics, the XII Games of Indigenous People.
Forty-eight different tribes participate in the bi-annual event, held this year in Cuiaba. Last Friday's opening ceremonies kicked off with representatives from each tribe lighting of the Indigenous Sacred Fire. Athletes compete in events like archery, tug-of-war, and a version of soccer where you can only use your head to move the ball.
These games serve as a refreshing contrast to the actual Olympics Brazil is preparing for a thousand miles away in Rio de Janeiro. Brazil's second biggest city will see over $14 billion in new infrastructure in time for the 2016 Summer Olympics. Getting ready has so far meant the demolition of favelas, construction of shoddy athletic facilities, and a frustrated citizenry. Earlier this year, riot police removed Indigenous Brazilians from an abandoned Indigenous History Museum in Rio. The building, which had become a squat, will be turned into a sports museum in time for the Olympics.
Below, Reuters photographer Paulo Whitaker shows us the far less controversial athletic events currently taking place in Cuiaba:
Workers make the final arrangements of the entrance of the XII Games of Indigenous People in Cuiaba November 8, 2013. (REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker)