Since 2006, members of Indian tribes including the Guajajaras, Pataxos, Tukanos, Fulnio and Apurinas have been living in mud huts around the dilapidated structure, which once housed the Museum of the Indian.
But the Indians want it as the headquarters of the city's first indigenous academic institution where ancestral skills, Indian history and culture would be taught.
They have created a website to publicize their projects and hope to launch online television in 2012.
"We want to show Brazilians that Indians are not all the same, that there is a huge cultural and ethnic diversity that needs to be valued and protected," said Afonso, an Apurina Indian.
1) That the Indians don't live only in remote villages where they still dress in loincloths and hunt with spears. These are modern people living in Rio de Janeiro, a modern city.
2) That they understand and use modern technology: television and the Internet. Indeed, it sounds like they know more than some US politicians and executives who never touch a computer.
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Below: "Arassari, Brazilian Indian from the Pataxo tribe from Bahia, paints his face in the garden of the former Indian museum in Rio de Janeiro in 2011. Indians occupy the old museum, which is to be converted in a shopping centre for the 2014 football World Cup. The Indians want to keep the building to create the first Indian university."