8:47 Now Playing
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 a scalable, climate solution, as recently recognised in the UN IPCC Land Use report.
Protecting their rights will benefit communities, the Amazon itself and all of humanity.
In the Peruvian Amazon the community of Boca Parimanu, the Amahuaca peoples tread this difficult balance.
Madre de Dios, the most biodiverse region in the Peruvian Amazon, is home to 37 native communities. This southern region is also the most affected by illegal mining, more than 60 000 hectares of forest have been deforested by this activity.
Due to its high biodiversity and extension of Amazon forest, Madre de Dios is a key region for climate commitments and the fight against the climate crisis.
8:57 Now Playing
Burning the Bananal
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 land and forests and to protect their peoples from large-scale wildfires.
In recent years, the Brazilian Environment Ministry has been working in partnership with indigenous communities. They have been learning from elders about fire management, employing indigenous firefighters and investing in the application of these practices on a vast scale. This approach has evolved into the Integrated Fire Management strategy, using prescribed burns at particular times of year so as to prevent large-scale destruction when the hot and dry wildfire season arrives. Traditional knowledge is the basis for all the work of prescribed burns in indigenous territories and is already being carried out in 7 Brazilian states (Mato Grosso, Roraima, Mato Grosso do Sul, Goias, Maranhao, Tocantins, Amazonas) throughout roughly 11 million hectares of indigenous territories.
See it in practice in this short film Burning the Bananal.
Societies across the world will struggle to deal with the increasing impacts of climate change – at this crucial juncture in our humanity we need to listen, learn, respect and support indigenous traditional knowledge.
07:42 Now Playing
Communities Combat Coca Growers - Peru
Roberto, Teofilo and the Shipibo Conibo community have been managing their forest for decades. Using 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, to locate and identify land invaders, illegal loggers, and increasingly, the illicit cultivation of coca and drug trafficking activities in their ancestral territory. They face threats from invading colonialists, in 2012 community member, Eliseo Picón was killed; Roberto and Teofilo continue to receive death threats.
06:35 Now Playing
Amazon, Alive for Humanity - Colombia
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 carry out the construction of a tourist trail, but without previous consultation of local communities. This infrastructure project would include the construction of extensive walking routes and amenities along an 8km route through pristine forest, communities and rivers.The Tikuna, Yaguas and Cocamas who live in San Martín de Amacayacu have denounced the violation of their right to free, prior and informed consent. As such they have urged the Colombian government to stop the construction activities and carry out the consultation process.
08:58 Now Playing
Reunion - Peru
Indigenous Haramkbut leaders lead journey to rediscover ancient sacred site to connect with their cultural past and protect their future.
13:42 Now Playing
Ka'a Zar Ukyze Wà - Forest Keepers in Danger
Indigenous filmmakers from Midia India release documentary alerting to the grave situation faced by their uncontacted relatives the Awá Guajá, from the Araribóia indigenous territory, one of the most endangered in the Amazon.
The Awá Guajá depend intrinsically on the forest for survival – for hunting, for gathering, for water. However, the forest in the Araribóia indigenous territory is under serious threat. Around it nothing is left standing. Official data from the National Institute for Space Research (INPE) show that Maranhão has already deforested 46% of its forest cover. In the six municipalities around the indigenous territory, this number is even higher: 52.5%.
The uncontacted Awá Guajá indigenous peoples, share Araribóia indigenous territory with their Guajajara relatives. There are 120 Guajajaras who fight to protect the remaining forest in their land and to guarantee the existence of their uncontacted relatives through their surveillance and monitoring activities.
Indigenous filmmaker Flay Guajajara took this footage, creating this documentary to mobilize forest defenders globally.
Erisvan Guajajara of Mídia Índia says:
“We didn’t have the Awá’s permission to film, but we know that it’s important to use these images because if we don’t show them around the world, the Awá will be killed by loggers. We need to show that the Awá exist and their lives are at risk. We’re using these images as a cry for help and we’re calling for the government to protect the lives of our relatives who don’t want contact with outsiders.”
10:09 Now Playing
Sapara Clothing: A Tradition in Danger
For centuries, the Sapara people of the Ecuadorian Amazon made their clothes from the resistant and natural fabric that the forest grows for them. As people have become more used to commercial clothing, this tradition has been increasingly neglected.
By stripping the bark from the tree and beating it to soften the fibres, they tame the hard cortex of the llanchama tree and transform it into a textile material. It seems simple but requires a team of people and several days of work to develop this product that is currently undervalued in the market.
Arturo Santi from the Jandiayaku community, inheritor of this millenary knowledge, passes it on to young people so that they can preserve this ancient technique that may offer a sustainable alternative for the future and exemplifies their community’s historic and deep connection to their forest home.
9:28 Now Playing
Week of Harvesting: inspiring the old, valuing the young
Terra do Meio in it’s fifth year brings together indigenous and local communities. The network of cantinas is able to supply traditional produce from the Amazon in a way that supports local communities and protects the forest. The Xipaya, Curuáya, Xikrin, Yudjá and Arara peoples joined by the banks of the Rio Xingu Extractive Reserves, Rio Iriri and Riozinho do Anfrísio, in Pará, for the celebration of traditional knowledge, harvesting, the economy of social and environmental diversity, transparency and importantly, autonomy.
5:40 Now Playing
Tîtko: the epic journey of the Brazil Nut and the Wai Wai people
The Brazil nut has always been a centerpiece of Wai Wai food culture. With the organization of the production chain, it has become a driver that is transforming lives and reinforcing the protection of a territory afflicted by invaders.
Playlist - Indigenous Ancestral Knowledge in the Amazon Rainforest
Three short films that highlight the importance of ancestral knowledge as a solution to deforestation and conservation in the Amazon Rainforest. [23:15]