Reclaiming and strengthening indigenous culture is vital to maintaining ancestral connections to nature. This must be passed onto future generations by celebrating indigenous traditions. Embera youth are spearheading a cultural revival, after decades of assimilation, through traditional body painting and storytelling. Meanwhile sustainable community forestry initiatives are creating low impact income for communities that rely on healthy forests for their survival.
After a seven year battle, a landmark Demarcation law was passed in 2003 for the Awas-Tingi territory in Nicaragua. The ruling demonstrated that international human rights laws could protect indigenous peoples, their land and their natural resources. But a change in law does not always lead to a change in behaviour.There remains an ongoing fight to protect indigenous territory from unscrupulous businessmen selling off this land to poor families, some who may have invested all they own into a small plot. This has caused incredible friction between the newcomers and the indigenous communities.Patrols to protect disputed land often turns violent. Last year Charley Taylor was murdered trying to keep colonialists from his communities land, a Mayangna community situated in the Bosawas Biosphere Reserve. This is a crucial moment, the indigenous peoples are mobilising groups to defend their land against increasingly violent settlers.Despite laws and promises being made indigenous communities still face a daily battle to protect their ancestral land. As the situation intensifies greater stress has been put on these people and the forests they inhabit.
On the 12th September 2013 the Honduran government granted almost 7% of its territory to the indigenous Miskito people who have lived traditionally on this land for centuries. We follow the leadership of the indigenous organisation, MASTA, as they speak to their elders and explore solutions to better govern their land.
Imagine communities and land-owners being paid by the government to protect their forests & natural resources? Costa Rica is the only tropical country in the world that has reversed the process of deforestation through a unique fuel tax law that impresses the importance of protecting the environment & helping develop communities.
See the full film : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hnZ-oBAvlXA
Guna communities have long been recognised for protecting the forests along their coastline; despite significant threats from farming and industrial logging, they are proven protectors of their ancestral forests. Today they face uncertainty over the sea that surrounds their island homes. Increasing encroachment by luxury vessels threatens the long term viability of their reefs. Without the support of the government of Panama and clear rights, they face an increasingly bitter struggle to protect the marine biodiversity in these waters.