Indigenous Communicators Put Their Skills To The Test

Young Indigenous communicators get together at the São José village - Photo: CTI
Reporting on AMIMA and COAPIMA assemblies in Maranhão

March, 2023 – Young Indigenous communicators employed their new talents covering the 5th Meeting of the Maranhão Indigenous Women Network (AMIMA), and the 6th Assembly of the Maranhão Indigenous Organizations Network (COAPIMA).

In January these young reporters enrolled in a Communications training program and are part of a group of 40 Indigenous youth communicators. They live in 12 Indigenous lands in the states of Maranhão and northern Tocantins and represent the Guajajara, Gavião, Tembé, Ka'apor, Memortumré-Kanela/Apanjekrá-Kanela, Krikati, Krahô, and Apinajé peoples. 

The training program includes a number of online virtual activities . It is delivered by COAPIMA, AMIMA, and the Wyty-Catë Organization of Timbira Communities of Maranhão and Tocantins, in partnership with the Indigenist Work Center (CTI) and the Society, Population and Nature Institute (ISPN). It is supported by USAID/Brazil under the Integrated Environmental and Territorial Management in Eastern Amazon Indigenous Lands project (more information here).

About 500 Indigenous representatives and leaders gathered over four days at the São José village, in the Krikati Indigenous Land. The activities included the elections for the new AMIMA and COAPIMA coordination teams, covering the three-year period from 2023 to 2026.

In recent years, AMIMA has become an important advocate for advancing Indigenous women's agendas and for training new leaders in the state of Maranhão. “This experience was similar to a college education for me. The Indigenous movement has taught me a lot. It has strengthened my role in our community, where I didn't have a voice – but now I do,” says Ruth Canela, one of AMIMA's former coordinators. 

Agenda – During the COAPIMA meeting members reviewed and updated their statute, which is vital for the organization. In addition, they elected Marcilene Guajajara as their new general coordinator, and Maria Helena Gavião as their new vice president. Ricardo Kanela and Danilo Guajajara were appointed treasurer and secretary, respectively. 

COAPIMA members discussed their governance structure, incorporating a leaner fiscal council, grassroots coordinators, and an Indigenous leaders advisory council. The management positions and the council appointments include representatives from southern, northern, and midwestern regions of Maranhão with an even distribution between the Jê and Tupi peoples.

COAPIMA has strengthened the Indigenous peoples of Maranhão to gain space for promoting the defense of their territorial rights, environmental management, the development of public policies and initiatives against violence and prejudice. They work to ensure land demarcations and public policies benefit Indigenous peoples in their state.

“I am very happy that COAPIMA has grown so much, and now represents all the peoples of Maranhão. Our Board played its part in that process, fighting on behalf of all our peoples,” says Arlete Krikati, a Timbira Indigenous Peoples leader.