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A new indigenous geo-storytelling platform, Tribal Stories, launched on the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, August 9.

The new platform, by Netherlands-based nonprofit People’s Planet Project (PPP), features films created by Indigenous filmmakers from the A’i Cofan community of Cofan Bermejo, Sucumbíos, Ecuador; and the Kīsêdjê community, from the Xingu Indigenous Territory in Mato Grosso, Brazil.

PPP provides filmmaking training and equipment to Indigenous communities. The films being created are for both storytelling and advocacy. Based on community requests, PPP has also developed a curriculum on how to document territories and create maps using GPS devices and geospatial data.

Community ambassadors from within the Indigenous community are trained to become workshop facilitators so they can give the workshops in their own languages and/or to other communities. The hope is to create a “sustainable knowledge circle.”

Indigenous communities are often on the front lines of forest change, and best placed to document those changes in real-time. Illegal forest activities such as logging and mining, land grabbing, conflict and fires can be recorded by Indigenous filmmakers with the right tools.

Amazon Frontlines has been accompanying and mentoring Indigenous youth who are training as filmmakers, photographers and journalists for several years. Currently, Amazon Frontlines work with Indigenous youth from the Kofan, Waorani, Siekopai and Siona nations in Ecuador.

Through new media Indigenous communities can safeguard hundreds of years of memory, history, and knowledge for future generations.

PPP is working to connect with environmental lawyers and other nonprofits doing similar work to support communities taking legal action to protect their lands. The non-profit is developing workshops in Latin America and Nepal and says it hopes to also train ambassadors in Indonesia and the Congo Basin.

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