Indigenous Web Round-up

Each week we share indigenous news, stories, and media from around the world in our weekly round-up. With a focus on arts, culture & promoting the strength of indigenous knowledge. We also introduce new members who have joined our global collaboration network.

This week, we’re happy to feature:

Co-creative platform of transformation and innovation in tune with living creation Earthkeepers.

Swiss non-profit Mama Tierra that sells handcrafted art products to help indigenous women maintain their communities and natural environment.

The Shipibo Conibo Center in New York, set up to promote and perpetuate the creative life-ways and knowledge of the Shipibo Conibo people in the Peruvian Amazon.

Icaros: A Vision

Interesting fact: The  Shipibo Conibo Center  in New York is result of a film that was co-directed by Matteo Norzi, Leonor Caraballa and Abou Farman. Moved by the feeling that the making of this film was more than just an adventure that would end with a screening and the wisdom of the Shipibo Conibo, they decided to perpetuate this experience.

Icaros: A Vision is a story about fear and the release from fear – the fear of illness and of death, but also the fear of life and living. It’s about the possibility of living through one’s fear – which is what the Amazonian plant Ayahuasca is good at getting you to do. Centered on the nightly ceremonies that are the main feature of shamanic retreats, Icaros revels in darkness, replicating a shamanic journey. The film mixes in elements of reality. Set in an actual Ayahuasca retreat in Peru, it features real shamans and indigenous non-actors from the Shipibo community, mixed in with western actors. Aspects of the film are based on Leonor Caraballo’s true experiences. Icaros: A Vision is a filmic tapestry about the meeting of cultures, a West in search of its lost soul and the indigenous Shipibo adapting their expansive practices and unique view of the universe.

The movie is screening in film-festivals in Goteborg and Istanbul in the coming months and will released theatrically in the United States in April. You can see a few fragments of it in the trailer:

The Mutton bird season

Tasmanian and indigenous playwriter Nathan Maynard never thought his clans’ favourite past-time, mutton bird harvesting on one of Tasmania’s most desolate islands, would become the scenario for a play set to premiere in the Sydney Opera House, but that is exactly what happened last week. ‘The Season’ is Maynards’ first play and the subject was his very first pick, hoping to dispel the myth of Tasmania’s indigenous community to be decimated after ‘the European invasion’:

” I hope the audience will understand that a lot of what they’ve been taught in school is inaccurate. We are a living, breathing, evolving people and culture that has been going since the beginning of time. We are not just hanging on, we are thriving.”

Tasmanian Aboriginals have harvested mutton birds and their eggs for centuries. The birds cross the Pacific to the Arctic circle each year, before returning to the Bass Strait islands to breed. This is where Maynards’ family would go every year to bond, tell each other secrets and bury the hatches and therefor where the play is situated. Essentially, it’s about connection and the feeling that we all belong somewhere…

The Season is still on until the 15th of January, watch the trailer here:

Photo journal – Katharina Louise (Guatemala)

This week, Sinchi featured the second part of three in a photo journal by global nomad, photographer and storyteller Katharina Louise from Germany.


PHOTOGRAPHER – Katherina Louise

The first Photo shows a procession that took place on Christmas for the holy Mary. Despite the indigenous genocide in Guatemala, it still has the largest variety of Mayan Tribes and Languages. Currently there are around 23 different Mayan Languages spoken, most of the different groups have their own special fabrics with a different form of symbolism. You can see an example of this kind of fabric in the photo of the woman wearing the apron and balancing the oranges on her head. Guatemala has a very rich production of fruits and vegetables. the photo of the children was taken on a special celebration day for them, where here was offerings in the streets and special food made by the mamitas that you could buy at every corner. The children wore costumes and painted mustaches on their faces, offering a beautiful representation of the uniqueness and aesthetics of their home country.


Musical feature: throatsinging

This week in our musical feature the art of overtone singing, or throatsinging, where the performer sings two or more notes at the same time. Most famous throatsinger is probably Kongar ol- Ondar, who passed away in 2013 leaving behind an immense legacy of collaborations with artists from all over the world and performances in Europe, Japan and the United States.

Throatsinging is traditionally done by herders and shepherds  from Siberia, Mongolia and Tuva, the latter being a state of the former Soviet Union, now Russia. It is supposed to mimic the sounds of nature that the Tuvan people surround themselves with: birds, the mountains, the snow, the rivers and the sound of the harsh winds on the steppe and therefor an expression of the deeply felt connection with the earth (according to Mister Ondar in an interview with the New York Times in 1999).

If you listen to the sounds Ondar makes, you will definitely hear the resemblance. Here an example of him performing during David Lettermans’ Late Night show in traditional Tuvan garments: