Amplifying Indigenous Voices through Their Own Efforts

Communicators participate in journalistic coverage
Indigenous youth communicators are promoting their culture and traditions in Roraima

May, 2023 - Alane dos Santos Lima, a member of the Macuxi people, is a young woman who, at the age of 24, was chosen to lead the Truarú da Cabeceira community, located in the state of Roraima. She knew that one of her roles as a tuxaua (a leader, in their language) was to ensure access to information to Indigenous communities that lack access to cell phones or the internet and are unable to leave their region in the North of Brazil. 

She decided to join the Wakywai Communicators Network. “I felt the need to help my people, and I knew that providing them with proper information would be a way to do that. Joining this project was very important because communication is an enabler,” says Alane.

She explains that participating in training courses and covering events has expanded her knowledge and her forms of expression. 

Indigenous communicator Alane dos Santos Lima, from the Macuxi people, shows a camera. She is young, wears a gray T-shirt and a headdress.

“We are spokespeople for our community, and are conveyors of news”,

says Alane.

The network receives support from USAID, in partnership withthe Roraima Indigenous Council (CIR) and the Brazilian International Education Institute (IEB). It has advanced since 2020, when it started educating local Indigenous communities about COVID-19 and vaccination programs. Now, these young people seek to spread the traditions and culture of Indigenous Peoples from Roraima using their own voices, and through their own eyes. 

In 2023, they engaged in the journalistic coverage of an event that brought together more than 2,000 people, including Indigenous leaders, members of other ethnic groups, and representatives of partner organizations to celebrate the 50th anniversary of CIR. This event marked the visit of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva to Roraima, as well as other community meetings and gatherings. 

Communicators interview Catherine Hamlin, Director of the USAID/Brazil Environment Program, at the CIR event

"So far, 30 communicators have attended training and capacity-building programs. They are now able to tell our story as it is, with our own words and images, and not through the eyes of outsiders, as used to be,” explains Indigenous communicator Caíque Souza, a photojournalist and communications officer at CIR

Heslen Alves da Silva, a young woman from the São Miguel community participated in the training, and is an Indigenous communicator. “I have always liked communication, and I realized that my community needed it badly because no one played that role there. It is a way of sharing our daily life with non-Indigenous, as well as other Indigenous communities.”

The indigenous Heslen Alves da Silva smiles at the camera. She has long hair, is wearing a gray shirt and wears a red headdress on her head.


“The Wakywai Network project enables us to tell our own story. In Wapichana, our native language, wakywai means 'our news'.  As Indigenous communicators, we convey our vision of our reality. The role of Indigenous Peoples in protecting 'Mother Earth' and the environment is very important because we work with nature,” adds Heslen.

Strengthening and training - The Wakywai Network is part of an effort to strengthen communication as a tool to fight fake news under the “Indigenous Communication Networks: Weaving Ties against COVID-19” project. The initiative promotes dialogue between communities and public authorities on issues related to Indigenous health and the effects of the pandemic. 

In addition, young communicators have taken training courses, covering topics such as political training, Indigenous rights, digital literacy, and audio/visual workshops.

A documentary titled “Success Stories” was recently released featuring  the training received by and the accomplishments of the Indigenous communicators. Watch it: