Today, we take time to honour Indigenous communities who care for our planet’s forests, lands, and waters. We recognise their leadership, knowledge, and tireless efforts that protect and restore nature. And we stand, as we do every day, in solidarity with our Indigenous partners around the world as they work toward strengthening and securing their tenure rights.
August 9 marks the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples and to celebrate we are sharing the stories from two young representatives of Indigenous Peoples from Ecuador and Indonesia.
One of them is Eli Virkina, a member of the Santu Urku Kichwa community on the Napo River in the Ecuadorian Amazon. As a Kichwa artist, environmental scientist, and storyteller, she is inspired by the land and people who shaped her but worries about its protection for the next generation.
The other is Kynan Tegar, an 18-year-old photographer and filmmaker from the Dayak Iban tribe off the island of Borneo, Indonesia. Living in and around the traditional longhouse of his village, he describes the wisdom and values he has learned from his elders as well as their stories of resistance in the face of encroaching deforestation, and the threats to their way of life.
Collaborating with If Not Us Then Who, Tenure Facility supported the young creatives as they filmed, edited, and produced these videos showing the vitality and vibrancy of their territories. The pair were given the space to showcase their work as up-and-coming filmmakers as well as a chance to highlight the challenges their communities face.
It’s our hope that by amplifying their voices and others like them we can all acknowledge the importance of Indigenous Peoples’ territorial rights in safeguarding their cultures, their lands and our futures.