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 introduce:

Honoring ancestral wisdom through preservation of the Amazonian forrest and it’s people Alianza Arkana

Waltja: Australian non-profit for the leadership of Aboriginal women, their families and self-determination

Media- concept Indigistream, with a major focus on streaming live and near live indigenous culture and events around Australia

Down to earth

‘We don’t inherit the Earth from our parents, we borrow it from our children.’

The above quote is a very important one for the message the makers of the documentary Down to Earth are trying to bring across: we have to get back in touch with ourselves, each other and nature to make the earth a better place for our future generations.

Breaking away from convention, this family left their home in the Netherlands to go on a five year journey towards a new perspective on life and made a documentary about it. On their journey they meet and live with so called ‘Keepers of the Earth’ from tribes and communities all over the world. Keepers of the Earth are people who live in so called balance with everything around them and are now ready to speak out and share their stories and insights with whomever is ready to listen. From the hearth of the Amazon, to the jungles of India, from the Australian outback to the Kalahari Dessert, from the Irish countryside to the banks of Lake Superior, Earthkeepers are everywhere and we meet with them face tot face.

Down to Earth is now screening in cinemas across the Netherlands, please contact the makers through their website to arrange a screening near you.

Let’s ‘talk’ masks

We came across this beautiful testimony of an ancient native American custom and want to share it with you today. The link takes us to a series of early 20th century photos, depicting scenes of native Americans wearing their handcrafted, sometimes terrifying, masks made out of leather, skin and wood.

A lot of time and attention is put into the making of these sacred masks, which are said to communicate with the ancestral spirits and spirit- animals. What is ironic though, as the article points out, is  that the mask isn’t actually supposed to conceal the wearers appearance, but rather invoke and express their own true self and the culture they come from. This doesn’t only go for American tribes, but for just about any indigenous tribe using masks for ritual purposes, have a look at these West- African beauties:


Musical feature: Songlines

This is a very special one. Songlines are living proof of mankinds’ ingenious methods for understanding and mapping the world around us; Though the aboriginal Songlines are unmistakably an expression of music and art, they are also a form of pre-literate navigation combined with oral mythological storytelling. Originating among the Aboriginal people of Australia, the songlines (also sometimes referred to as dreamtracks) narrate the route of numerous paths through the land, these paths have been orally transferred from one generation on to another. It is said that the paths have come to the Aboriginal people through dreaming or higher states of consciousness and creator-beings. The path of each creator-being is re-enacted through dance and sung lyrics and even include landmarks (like rock-formations, waterfalls, trees).

Native Indigenous Television Australia is broadcasting a new documentary series on these songlines. Made up of 8 short films from the remote regions of Western, Northern and Central Australia, the documentary series seeks to “share the creation stories that are the foundation of our country’s rich history,” says NITV’s channel manager, Tanya Denning-Orman. It is also a very important way for this oral tradition to remain alive as a lot of the songlines have been lost with the occupation of the continent by Western settlers. Director Cornel Ozies says:

“In order for our culture to survive, it must move from oral to documented. To record these Songlines to film is a natural progression. We must use any devices at our disposal to keep our traditions alive. The songs that the old people sing and pass along are about the country and the sacred places where songs belong.”

For the rest, we let the images in the trailer for ‘Songlines on Screen’ speak for itself:

Photojournal- Katharina Louise (Panama)

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


PHOTOGRAPHER – Katherina Louise

The special tradition of the carnival they celebrate on the islands has its roots in the Afro-Caribbean culture and is unique in the World. The central figure of the festivities are the masked “Diablos”, for some people they represent the devil like slave masters with their whips. Each year the so called “Congos” come to fight the Diablos, which is a representation of the fight they won over their independence from the Spanish colonialists. The costumes and masks they wear in the festivities are something they are really proud of, and you can see by the colors and the detail, how long they have been participating in the tradition. There is a lot of dancing and fantastic Caribbean food to share.