Films by If Not Us Then Who?
Complete library documentaries made by the If Not Us Then Who? team.
In a rapidly dwindling community forest the people of Pandumaan & Sipituhuta have put up a strong fight to stop the growth of monoculture eucalyptus plantations. But the aggressive actions of the company & its close alignment with local politicians & the police have led this struggle down a dark path – protests, intimidation, arrests & confrontations.
Indigenous Haramkbut leaders lead journey to rediscover ancient sacred site to connect with their cultural past and protect their future.
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.
Brazil’s African slave descendants, the Quilombola, have fought a long and hard struggle for recognition. After the abolition of the slave trade they were left abandoned and ostracised, devoid of rights and outside of Brazilian mainstream society. But things are slowly changing amongst rural communities. In the 1988 constitution Brazil’s Quilombola were granted access to land rights and since then they have been actively building a way to secure land titles on the sites where many have lived for generations. Community mapping is an important tool in this process, as is increasing awareness amongst the Brazilian population through education and ecotourism. ‘Freedom’ looks at two Quilombola communities, one with no land title and one benefitting from legal recognition, and examines the disparities between them.
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.
The indigenous people of Sungai Utik, a Dayak Iban community in West Kalimantan, Indonesia, have maintained a strong traditional connection to their forests despite continuous pressure from logging and palm oil companies intent on taking their land. Their forests remain intact and their traditional values are keeping their community together. If we want to keep […]
From outsiders to political representatives, the indigenous struggle in the Mentawai islands is a 20 year struggle to be heard. We learn through the eyes of Gugen, a future Indigenous leader, as he meets the villagers, shamens, newspaper & radio stations that unify these threatened islands.
Even a well-managed, recognised forest faces constant challenges but innovative drone GPS technology, cooperative campaigning, local government support and eco-tourism are helping the Setulang people thrive. They have shown that community rights, the environment and development go hand in hand. Setulang boasts clean water, sustainable fishing and hunting, building materials, fruit and traditional medicine, a […]
The community of Lago do Mainá have lived with the forest and the river, nature for them is the most fundamental thing they have. However a military training base and increasing incursions by soldiers created tension between the community and the army. Through the use of social mapping the people of Lago do Mainá have […]
Across the Democratic Republic of Congo foreign owned logging companies are causing widespread destruction of one of the most valuable remaining tropical forests in the world. Often local communities are ignored as their forests are cut around them. In a country largely lawless the use of violence is endemic. By using the military and the […]
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.
Ramón López and other locals from Cruz de Ocote ejido, in the Sierra Norte de Puebla, Mexico, take care, cultivate and manage its forests under the scheme known as Community Forestry Management. It ensures economic benefits for local families as well as biodiversity conservation. However, they struggle daily against illegal logging and require the support […]
Having lived for millennia in the forests of the ‘Amazonian Trapezoid’, today the Amacayacu National Park, indigenous communities there are now treated as an obstacle to conservation. Their rights have been systematically violated since the National Park was created in 1975. In April 2015 the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism signed an agreement to […]
On 1st September 2014 Edwin Chota and three indigenous Asháninka leaders were murdered while defending their forests. They had been denouncing the increasingly violent illegal loggers operating on their ancestral lands for over a decade with little recognition from the government. Through their widows, family and friends we learn about their ongoing fight for land […]
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 […]
After a seven year battle, the Mayangna community of Awas Tingni won a landmark ruling at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and demonstrated that international human rights law could protect indigenous peoples, their land and their natural resources. As a result a Demarcation Law was passed in 2003 in Nicaragua to recognise and respect […]
Jail is the reward for Momonus and Jamaludin to defend their ancestral lands. For 12 years already these Semunying indigenous territories have been controlled by P.T. In Ledo Lestari. Their dense forest had been turned into a palm oil plantation landscape. Although they have been persecuted and abused in their ancestral land, their fight is […]
To examine the real significant impacts of climate change the Handcrafted team travelled to the Philippines to cover the story of super typhoon Haiyan which devastated parts of the country in November 2013. It was recorded as the most powerful storm to make landfall in human history. One particular town, Tacloban City, situated on the […]
Marginalised for decades, Pygmy peoples are fighting for recognition and land rights. Even the term ‘pygmy’ is laced with historical racism and prejudice, they are not treated as equal citizens in their home country. At the heart of pygmy culture is their forest, central to their spiritual beliefs, and ancestral heritage it is also their source […]
UN Special Rapporteur of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples meets the Standing Rock Sioux leadership and community in March 2017 after months of protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline. On the 10th anniversary of the Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the campaign has come to represent the struggle of indigenous peoples the world […]
The humble babassu palm provides a livelihood for communities of women across North Eastern Brazil. Bread, charcoal, oil and soap are produced from the nut and husk; the surplus is sold on. But production has not always been so peaceful. Babassu: Brazil’s Warrior Women tells the story of the hard battle to maintain these communities’ […]
Despite their customary land being recognised by the Indonesian Government in 2012, the Seko community have been defending their land against large-scale energy development for the last 3 years. In 2016, 14 community leaders were criminalized, including 1 woman. They were sentenced for at least 7 months. They oppose a large scale hydro-electric power plant, […]
Roberto, Teofilo and the Shipibo Conibo communities of Patria Nueva and Nueva Saposoa have been managing their forest for decades. They use an innovative forest monitoring system that incorporates traditional foot patrols and the latest technology-including GPS, smart phone applications, satellite-generated deforestation alerts and drones. These tools have have allowed the community monitors, alongside government officials, […]
A new model of conservation is emerging. It is one that values the role of local communities and reconciles protecting biodiversity with the use and management of resources. In the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve in Michoacán, communities play a vital role in conservation efforts and several have been recognised with awards for their work. However, […]
A growing number of Indigenous communities in Central and South America are harnessing the power of high-resolution satellite imagery, sophisticated drone equipment, and the latest smart-phone technology to precisely document and act on threats to their lands such as fires, gold-mining, logging, and deforestation for agriculture. But it’s not without its risks: community forest monitors […]
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 […]
Wildfires may grab headlines but indigenous peoples and local communities who depend the Amazon face many different threats. Not only are their territories targeted for illegal extractive activities such as gold mining and deforestation but without clear land titles their situation remains legally precarious. But more than this – indigenous peoples and local communities offer […]
Wildfires are increasing in their frequency and ferocity worldwide – they consume forests and destroy lives. Is there a more effective way to fight them? Fighting fire with fire Traditional fire management practices hold many answers. Controlled fires, which were widely banned by colonialist authorities, had long been used by indigenous peoples to maintain their […]