Past ISE Small Grant Recipients
Parte de este material está disponible en español.
Martín Chavez is renowned in Northern Mexico for his work on the revitalization and re-valorization of Indigenous Rarámuri (Tarahumara) ecological knowledge and practice in Chihuahua. Martín’s perspective is holistic, integrating the valuing of language, natural history, a spiritual path, healing, philosophy and ethics with on-the-ground work recording interviews with elders, building a network of activists and wisdom-holders in what he considers to be his life’s work among his people and among all people. This small grant will allow Martín to launch a project he has been planning with middle school students to record the wealth of their own Indigenous ethnobiological heritage and, most importantly, support in them their sense of pride, belonging and responsibility for the continuance of the deep Rarámuri knowledge and respect for these endangered ecosystems they call home.
Martín’s Interim Report begins:
During the month of August 2009 I again visited Basihuare community to report that the work with on cultural re-valorization with young people from high school would begin in September, as the community had given me permission to do so. Within the same month I met with teachers, parents and students to arrange the times for the workshop “Cultivating Ancestral Roots”.
Read Martín’s full interim report, rich with photographs, in Spanish.
CODEAMA (Amazon Conservation and Development Foundation) is a local NGO dedicated to sustainable development in the Amazon region of Ecuador. Based in the city of Puyo, CODEAMA works with local governments, rural communities, schools, and individual landowners to promote best-practices in conservation of forests and watersheds, as well as sustainable agriculture and community health. This small grant will support work conducted jointly with the State Department of Intercultural Healthcare and local Indigenous communities in the region of Pastaza, in Amazonian Ecuador. CODEAMA will facilitate the production of several video resource packs on the subject of community health and the use and management of medicinal plants.
“Video en las Comunidades” (Ecuadorian Amazonia)
The use of video among indigenous people in Amazonia is well documented (Turner, 1991) and has proven an appropriate and useful tool to support inter-communal and cultural communication.
Learning to use a camera and edit short films about the history, culture and life of their people creates possibilities for a renewed encounter between the young and the elders, among others. The adoption of this aspect of modern technology bears a novel meaning in the mind of the new generations to reevaluate their cultural legacy.
Our primary goal is to use video in support of the revitalization of ancestral medicine in Ecuadorian Amazonia. Audiovisual material allows making information on healthcare more accessible to oral cultures and communities providing easy identification of medicinal plant species and practical information on how they can be cultivated or harvested and turned into herbal remedies to treat the most common ailments and illnesses in the village, among other possibilities. Video is also useful to help local people become more aware of the social and ecological determinants of the health situation in their territory, and empower them to make decisions on in the face of those new challenges.
Examples of films made and in process:
1) “Gathering of Indigenous Health workers”, featuring group discussions around intercultural healthcare and practical demonstrations of herbal remedies during a training workshop in a Shiwiar village.
2) “Plants for Health: herbal remedies for diarrheal diseases, respiratory infections and intestinal parasites”. The film is shows how the plants may be cultivated, harvested and prepared to treat some of the most common health problems in the village.
3) “Cultivation and conservation of medicinal plants and herbal medicine making in rural and indigenous areas”, provides information on different techniques for sustainable harvesting and agro-ecological cultivation of medicinal plants.
4) “Ayahuasca – Source of Indigenous Wisdom”, a documentary meant to better inform professional health agents working in indigenous areas on one of the central pillars of ancestral medicine in Ecuadorian Amazonia.
The films are distributed to local indigenous communities and organizations and through the Departments of Intercultural healthcare of the Health Ministry in Ecuador.
The Small Grant we received from the ISE gave us the opportunity to introduce video making among a group of Amazonian Kichwa people, in the Pastaza province, in Ecuador. It supported the purchase of video equipment, the training of a young Canelos-Kichwa leader in the use of video camera and editing techniques, and the distribution of edited videos to local villages and institutions.
Luis Fernando Canelos (23), from the village of Canelos (Pastaza), produced a short film on the history and life of his people: “Canelos: Historia y Vida”. The film was made for the descendants of a group of Canelos-Kichwa who were taken away by the Spanish rubber baron Máximo Rodriguez to extract rubber in the southeastern jungles of Peru in the early 1900s.
These people never returned to their home and settled in the state of Madre de Dios. Last May, the film was taken to the village of Puerto Arturo, one of the two settlements displaced Kichwa now live in Peru, an hour upstream from the jungle town of Puerto Maldonado, on the Madre de Dios River. The images of the video had a profound emotional and cultural impact on the Canelos-Kichwa of Puerto Arturo.
We are grateful to the ISE for its generous support in facilitating this activation process of cultural revival and social empowerment through video in Ecuadorian Amazonia.
Didier’s participation in the 12th ISE Congress in Tofino, Canada, and the work being done by CODEAMA, was highlighted in the Special Issue of the ISE Newsletter (March 2010).
The Cordillera Women’s Education Action Research Center (CWEARC) is a non-governmental organization engaged in organizing, education and services among indigenous women in the Cordillera Region, Philippines since 1987. CWEARC is presently working together with Innabuyog in empowering the indigenous women of the Cordillera through organizing, capacity-building and advocacy on indigenous women’s issues. At the same time, CWEARC assists community-level women’s organizations address their socio-economic needs and problems.
With funding from the Darrell Posey small grant program CWEARC is starting a community-based seed-banking and exchange project of indigenous women in two communities in the province of Benguet, Cordillera Region, Philippines. The seed-banking project aims to help the women preserve the indigenous varieties of rice, vegetables and fruits and to make these seeds available and accessible for continued use of the community as well as for exchange with other communities. The project also aims to strengthen the traditional role of indigenous women farmers as the seed-keepers in the community.
For the last 30 years, members of the Pala’wan and Molbog tribes indigenous to the areas in and around Bugsuk Island in Southern Palawan have been treated as interlopers on their own land. Barred from their traditional fishing grounds by a multinational pearl farm corporation, they have endured harassment, and were forced to employ clandestine methods to fish for subsistence. Bound by this common plight, the indigenous peoples and long-time settlers to the area formed SAMBILOG (Samahan ng mga Katutubo at Maliit na Mangingisda sa Dulong Timog Palawan), or the Association of Indigenous Peoples and Small Fishers from the Southernmost Tip of Palawan. Since its inception in 2000, SAMBILOG has taken various legal and meta-legal steps to: (a) regain access to the indigenous and non-indigenous fisherfolk’s traditional fishing grounds; and (b) obtain recognition for the Pala’wans’ and Molbogs’ title over their ancestral domain.
With funding from the Darrell Posey small grant, SAMBILOG is conducting an ethnographic study to document the Pala’wans’ and Molbogs’ history and origin; ancestral domain, including sacred and other significant sites; socio-political systems, including indigenous laws and norms, and social and family structures; economic systems, including traditional resource use and indigenous knowledge systems and practices; and current challenges they face. No study of this kind and extent has previously been conducted, and there is currently no comprehensive paper or record documenting the foregoing.
The project is being administered by the Palawan NGO Network, Inc. (“PNNI”), which is the lead Palawan-based organization assisting SAMBILOG. PNNI is a network comprised of 20 NGOs and Peoples Organizations in the province of Palawan assisting poor and marginalized sectors to participate in local governance and in the sustainable management of the province’s natural resources. The study is being conducted in cooperation with Anthropology Watch under the guidance of faculty members from the University of the Philippines Anthropology Department. Archival research draws primarily on resources in the National Archives of the Philippines.
The results of the study will be used:
- in connection with the indigenous peoples’ CADT (Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title) application;
- as evidence in legal proceedings involving the indigenous peoples’ access to their traditional fishing grounds;
- in support of SAMBILOG’s continuing public information campaign; and
- as a starting point for future activities intended to help preserve Pala’wan and Molbog culture.
Shinai is a small, grassroots Peruvian NGO that was officially established in January 2002. Their first project was with the Nahua, an indigenous group living in the remote rainforests of South Eastern Peru. Shinai helped the Nahua make and use territorial maps to successfully defend their territories and livelihoods from illegal mahogany logging. Nahua territory is now free from loggers, but it is surrounded by several petroleum concessions. The Darrell Posey Small Grant supported exchanges between the Nahua and the Achuar, an indigenous people living in Northern Peru and Southern Ecuador. The exchanges provided the Nahua with first-hand experience of the social and environmental impacts of over 20 years of oil extraction in Achuar territory, and the strategies that some Achuar communities are using to confront new attempts to exploit oil on their lands. Shinai facilitiated this process, and provided training workshops on indigenous peoples’ rights and the impacts of oil and gas extraction for the Nahua, in order to support their decision-making processes about potential natural resource extraction on their lands. Read more about Shinai.
Between the months of November 2005 and June 2006 the following outputs were recorded:
- Assisted the Nahua set up a control post at the border of their territory to prevent the entry of poachers and loggers.
- In April Shinai representative traveled with a delegation of six Nahua to visit the Achuar communities who have been resisting successive attempts since 1990 by the Peruvian government and 4 different oil and gas companies to explore for oil and gas on their territory. The objective of the 3-week-long trip was to provide the Nahua with direct experience of the social and environmental impacts of thirty years of oil exploitation along the Corrientes River.
- Monitored Achuar territory and visited spill and dumping sites; took illustrative photos and videos as well as some clearly contaminated water samples in order to show the rest of the Nahua upon return.
- In Lima met with the President of the new State Agency for Indigenous Affairs (INDEPA), which is legally obliged to protect the Reserve in which the Nahua live. They subsequently planned trips to visit the aforementioned territories.
Grupo Solidario (GSAPP) was formed in 2001 in Peten, Guatemala. GSAPP is comprised of community leaders, NGO representatives, agronomy technicians and other individuals whose goal is to define, implement and inform communities about rural development strategies to address hunger, unemployment, and environmental destruction in the region. In particular, GSAPP supports and promotes dialogue to develop locally-conceived alternatives to the PPP (Plan Puebla-Panama) and the FTAA/TLC (Free Trade Agreement of the Americas/Trato de Libre Comercio). The Darrell Posey Small Grant supported GSAPP’s institutional capacity-building, as well as its outreach and extension activities in communities. These included workshops and technical assistance with small-scale traditional medicine and agricultural projects. Between the months of November 2005 and September 2006 GSAPP recorded eight meetings held with local communities updating them on Solidario’s activities, four capacity-building workshops were held for community leaders, and two exchanges between communities discussing the problems they are facing due to PPP and the FTAA. Contact GSAPP for more information.
Augusto Jose Emmanuel Buenbrazo Gatmaytan
Augusto Gatmaytan is one of the few lawyers in the Philippines who has devoted his professional life to the cause of indigenous peoples’ rights. His achievements include helping to found the Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center, securing land rights for tribal communities in Surigao del Sur and Agusan del Sur provinces, and representing indigenous groups before the Philippine Supreme Court to defend the constitutionality of the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act, which was attacked by mining and other interests.
The Darrell Posey Small Grant supported Augusto Gatmaytan provide legal and anthropological services to Tagdumahan, a federation of tribal Banwaon communities in San Luis, Agusan del Sur province. These services include protection of indigenous tenure rights of the Banwaon, development of a resource management plan, human rights advocacy, and production of an ethnographic description of Banwaon culture to support ancestral ownership of territory. He also explored the possibility of launching a radio program focused on indigenous peoples’ rights.
During the grant period, Mr. Gatmaytan continued to serve as legal consultant and organizer for the RGS-TFM (Religious Good Shepherd -Tribal Filipino ministry) Ancestral Domains Organizing Program, which monitors the land, resource and human rights situation of the various Banwaon and Manobo tribal communities in the southern Philippine island of Mindanao. These communities are located in remote, forested areas that bear the environmental and cultural scars of the logging boom of the 1980′s. With the Ancestral Domains Organizing Program Mr. Gatmaytan facilitated the establishment of village organizations to strengthen local capacities for analysis and action, and provided skills and assistance to community leaders and organizers.
Grupo Curuperé uses native Amazonian biodiversity to rescue fading folk art and Amazonian musical traditions while giving professional training to disadvantaged youth. During the grant period, Curuperé has trained over 400 people, principally in the state of Pará, Brazil. Beneficiary communities range from the impoverished urban neighborhood of Bengui in Belém to the Quilombolas, descendents of African slaves, along the lower Acará River in Pará. Amazonian artisans look to Curuperé for inspiration, not only in rescuing ancient traditions, but also in testing new seeds, vines, and woods in the design of instruments and jewelry. Their work is unique among Amazonian artisans in that their objective is to create art while promoting sustainable use of natural resources and social justice.
Throughout the period of Darrell Posey Small Grant support, Grupo Curuperé increased the number of students they work with, built a larger workshop and office space, and purchased new tools and equipment. Delomarque Fernandes and Ronaldo Farias taught students how to identify materials in the forest, sustainable collection methods, and techniques for processing materials into instruments and jewelry. As a result, students showed an increase in self-esteem because of these new skills, and developed a greater awareness of the value of a healthy natural environment.
Grupo Curuperé establised a working relationship with the Fundacao Sao Jose Liberto (a cultural space created for regional artisans in Belem) to showcase their instruments in a local parade in hopes of educating the public about their mission and work. At the time of their final report, they also planned to partner with CEMEM (Women Extractivists of Marajo’s Ecological Cooperative), which represents dozens of women who make a living by extracting and selling medicinal plants, seeds and fruits.
WAMIP (World Alliance of Mobile Indigenous Peoples)
WAMIP is a worldwide alliance of peoples and communities that practice mobility as both a livelihood and conservation strategy. It was founded by roughly 40 mobile indigenous peoples’ representatives and partners gathered at the 5th World Parks Congress in Durban, South Africa, in September 2003. WAMIP is working towards a future in which the rights of mobile indigenous peoples, and their relationship with the environment, are internationally recognized.
The Darrell Posey Small Grant supported efforts to strengthen the capacity and effectiveness of the WAMIP Secretariat and Coordinating Committee. Activities during the first year of the Small Grant included a November 2004 “Mobility, Livelihoods and Conservation” workshop in Bangkok, which highlighted the conservation benefits of mobility and the environmental and cultural impacts of forced sedentarism. The workshop was held at the Third IUCN World Conservation Congress, which also approved Resolution CGR3.RES068 (Mobile Indigenous Peoples and Conservation) to ensure mobile indigenous peoples’ participation in and sharing of benefits from protected area design and implementation.
The Darrell Posey Small Grant also supported the February 2005 participation of WAMIP representative Boku Tache at the Global Pastoralist Gathering in Turmi, Ethiopia, and a June 2005 event co-sponsored by WAMIP and hosted by IUCN/TILCEPA and IIED on “Governance, Participation, Equity and Benefit Sharing- Implementing Element 2 of the CBD Programme of Work on Protected Areas.” During this event WAMIP distributed manuals, guidelines, and case studies to participants. In the same month, Dr. Targhi Farvar, a WAMIP representative, met with advisors to the Spanish government on issues related to the environment and pastoralism, and to discuss plans to hold WAMIP’s General Assembly in Spain in October 2006. Learn more about WAMIP.