7:22 Now Playing
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 forests we need to trust and support communities like the indigenous Dayak Iban. As they tackle the impacts of climate change, through the sustainable forestry traditional both to their culture and to their understanding of nature, they can offer us climate solutions and hope for the future.
12:27 Now Playing
Mali Umai - A Dayak Iban Ritual
This ritual starts with one of the elders of the long house, deep in the jungle searching for the majestic call of the White-rumped shama or locally known as the Murai Batu. This tradition is called “Baburung” only after they have finished Baburung, can they start “Mali Umai”, an Iban ceremony that is done so that Iban crops are freed from pest.
The Iban people of Sungai Utik will then carve sculptures that are made to resemble humans. A pair of husband and wife who are called the “Induk”, but they also make the children of the Induk which are called the “Anak” that are based on the amount of fields that will be planted in the current planting season.
The night after the Agum is finished it is given to the person that will plant it in their field. Then it will be dressed with clothes and fed a mixture of Iban dish that is supposed to get it through the night in preparation for the day after where it will be planted by the very same person that has dressed it.
The morning after the Agum is dressed, the whole village come together to bless the Agum using the “Kayu Burung” that they collected after hearing the call of the Murai Batu during Baburung. Afterwards, they use the Kayu Burung along with a chicken that has been beheaded to sweep their field during which they also collect all the pest that are in the area such as grasshoppers and many other types of pest as they sweep, which they then put in a bamboo and burn it while they “Besampi” the Iban equivalent of praying, and only after that is done can they finally plant the Agum in the field next to the previous years Agum in hopes that it will protect their field from any dangers, may it be from flooding, pest, forest fire, or anything that may harm the crops.
Watch 14 year old, Kynan Tegar’s debut film: Mali Umai – A Dayak Iban Ritual, about his indigenous community in Sungai Utik, Indonesia.
6:06 Now Playing
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.
8:28 Now Playing
Behind the Bayano
Film by Ivan Jaripio, indigenous filmmaker from the Embera community of Piriati, Panama.
A hydroelectric power station was constructed in Panama in the 1970s – displacing indigenous Embera communities. Despite agreement from the state that their relocation would enable them to remake their lives through their traditions and customs, 40 years later they continue to fight against the erosion of their culture.
7:31 Now Playing
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 titles. This story is one of many examples of Indigenous Peoples defending their forests and paying the ultimate sacrifice.
02:16 Now Playing
Indigenous Leaders March - New York 2016
After gathering at Ford for a panel briefing on April 21st, Indigenous leaders marched toward the UN building to bring awareness to the many lives taken by miners and loggers who have been killing people in their communities to take away their land. One day before the signing of the #Parisagreement, implementation plans by UN nations continue to neglect the rights of indigenous communities who have been protecting our forests and mitigating climate change for centuries.
01:25 Now Playing
Diana Rios is an Ashaninka youth leader from Alto-Tamaya Saweto in the central Peruvian rainforest. In this video she speaks about the urgency of acting now while we still have forests.
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.”
Playlist - XR Youth: Internationalist Solidarity and Indigenous Voices
In partnership with Extinction Rebellion Youth and their Internationalist Solidarity Team we have curated a selection of short films that explore the link between the fight for climate justice and the fight for indigenous rights.
“The legacy of colonialism, combined with current forms of capitalism based on never-ending extractive growth is literally killing us. The reality is that 4 environmental defenders a week are being killed in the Global South. We in the Global North need to honour their work and join their struggles by also throwing our own bodies on the line.
“Ending domination over nature goes hand in hand with tackling all forms of domination and hierarchy. The struggle for climate justice is also the struggle for racial, gender, sexual and economic equality.”
Farhana Yamin, international environmental lawyer and climate change and development policy expert turned activist.
We first visit the Sungai Utik community in Indonesia as the impacts of climate change encroach their hard-won way of life. Kynan Tegar, 14 year old filmmaker then shows us a farming ritual in his community. Then we move to Panama as we learn about the links between culture and strong biodiversity and forests. Young filmmaker Ivan then explores the issue further; cultural erosion when communities are displaced. In Peru, we go back to 2014 following the lives of Ashnenika widows after the murder for 4 leaders by illegal loggers. We hear from Diana, who we then follow her powerful life as an activist to continue her father’s work. Finally, we watch Flay‘s film on protected their uncontacted cousins, the Awá peoples, and learn how deforestation puts their lives in danger.
“The extermination of biological diversity and of indigenous cultures…is part of one extinction, one interconnected war against life. Ecocide and genocide are one indivisible process, and they began with the idea of the colonisation of the Earth.”
Vandana Shiva, Eco-feminist and food sovereignty advocate
To watch more films made by young indigenous storytellers, visit this playlist.