Indigenous People: Training for Effective Communications to Protect Their Territories

Group of 40 Indigenous youth started a communications training program

February, 2023 - Digital Media Communications has increasingly become an essential tool for the territorial protection of Indigenous communities in the Amazon. 

A group of 40 young Indigenous people participated in a Communications training program at the “Penxwyj Hempejxà" Timbira Teaching and Research Center in the state of Maranhão. They represent the Guajajara, Gavião, Tembé, Ka'apor, Memortumré-Kanela/Apanjekrá-Kanela, Krikati, Krahô, and Apinajé peoples, who live in 12 Indigenous lands in the states of Maranhão and northern Tocantins. 

“This is important for us, young people. It will enable us to film our land, our culture, and share information with non-Indigenous people. This is the important part of this training, which I am taking back to my community," says Silvia Pahkim Krahô, from the Kraolândia Indigenous Land in Tocantins.

Silvia says the recordings could be used to report invaders, record cultural practices to ensure that they are not lost, and show the importance of the environmental protection work carried out by Indigenous people. The Integrated Environmental and Territorial Management in Eastern Amazon Indigenous Lands project includes training in filming techniques to support communities’ Indigenous engagements.

The four-month program is conducted by a production company named Idade da Pedra [Stone Age]. It includes long-distance training modules in addition to face-to-face sessions . 

Course topics range from digital photography, card production, text production, and audiovisual content for social networks. The first module addressed the important role of Indigenous communicators in environmental and territorial management processes. The 40 participants received cell phones and gimbals (image stabilizing tools) to support their communication work.

“It is important for young communicators to know how to handle this equipment well in order to produce quality work and help our leaders with their activities. With high-quality images, we can share what we are feeling or what we are experiencing,” says Patrícia da Silva Guajajara from the Araribóia Indigenous Land. 

“We want to learn how to use these tools to protect our land and to showcase what happens in our region," adds Bebeto Ahkoxet Kanela from the Porquinhos Indigenous Land. 

The training is carried out by COAPIMA (Maranhão Indigenous Organizations Network), the Wyty-Catë Organization of Timbira Communities of Maranhão and Tocantins, and AMIMA (Maranhão Indigenous Women Network), in partnership with the CTI (Indigenist Work Center) and the ISPN (Society, Population and Nature Institute). It is supported by USAID/Brazil under the Integrated Environmental and Territorial Management in Eastern Amazon Indigenous Lands project.

More information and updates on this project are available on PCAB and CTI social networks.