Indigenous web round-up

Every month we share indigenous news, stories and media from around the world in our 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:

Kaya volunteer; cultivating educated, compassionate global citizens through responsible travel.

Our favourite hang-out in Amsterdam and platform for upcoming talent/ gallery/sustainable project; Pllek

Berlin based PR agency ABCD, raising awareness and creating brand trust through clever storytelling.

The Last Peyote Guardians

Huicholes: The Last Peyote Guardians is a story about the mystical Wixárika People, one of the last pre-Hispanic alive cultures in Latin America, and their ongoing struggle against the mexican government and multinational mining corporations to preserve Wirikuta, their most sacred territory and home of the famous peyote cactus.

Since 2010, Canadian mining projects received the concessions to prospect the whole area, rich in silver and other valuable minerals. The company promises to create thousand of jobs for the needy villagers of the region, without contamination. Nevertheless, the mining activities are seen by the Wixárika and their supporters as a great menace for the delicate biodiversity of this unique ecosystem, listed by the UNESCO as World Cultural and Natural Heritage.

An unequal and controversial fight from today that triggers the global debate between ancient cultural values, the exploitation of nature and the inevitable development of the peoples.

Dance is an anchor to identity

Though customs and traditions and beliefs may look different and belong to other people I have also found many similarities which I can relate to my own people. This has broadened my vision of myself and my place in this world.”

The above quote belongs to Aboriginal dancer Ray Kelly, whom as a young boy growing up in Sydney felt detached from both his rich ancestral background on the one side and this new way of living he was supposed to make due with on the other side; he was growing up indigenous in two worlds. The initial disconnect turned into a revelation as he remembers his father speak about dance when he was 5 years old, expressing the importance of togetherness and taking responsibility. He soon found himself on a mission to finding his own identity, using dance as his anchor, recollecting the stories of his uncles stumping the ground like emus with feet like firecracker, raising dust and thumping the earth.

Ray tells this story in his theatre piece Get up and Dance, through the eyes of a boy called Goori. If you want to find out more, you can read his article in The Guardian right here.

Photographs of Australian Aboriginal Indigenous people and places by Aboriginal photographer A,Professor Wayne Quilliam

The Mosuo Tribe

Imagine a society without fathers; without marriage (or divorce); one in which nuclear families don’t exist. Grandmother sits at the head of the table; her sons and daughters live with her, along with the children of those daughters, following the maternal bloodline. Men are little more than studs, sperm donors who inseminate women but have, more often than not, little involvement in their children’s upbringing.

This progressive, feminist world – or anachronistic matriarchy, as skewed as any patriarchal society, depending on your viewpoint – exists in a lush valley in Yunnan, south-west China, in the far eastern foothills of the Himalayas. An ancient tribal community of Tibetan buddhists called Mosuo, they live in a surprisingly modern way: women are treated as equal, if not superior, to men; both have as many, or as few, partners as they like, free from judgment; and extended families bring up the children and care for the elderly. But are the women really in control? And how are men fairing under their rule? Broadly correspondent Milène Larsson spent a week in Lugu Lake with three generations of Mosuo women to find out what life is like in one of the world’s last matriarchies.

Photojournal Esteban Perroud

” These pictures were taken during a trip around the world through cities in sociopolitical conflict: I arrived in Harper, Liberia, in Africa, where life, due to the civil war, became a strife for its people. A civil war that ended leaving a lack of water, electricity or public service, as well as scarcity of jobs, and resulted in a socially unfavorable environment. Being among these people with my camera, as a silent observer, allowed me to see hope reflected in their eyes, there, where none was to be expected.”