Maloca – Empowering Indigenous Kamayura of Brazil to Document and Protect Culture
By Luminita Cuna, Director of Maloca In January 2014, Maloca director visited the Kamayura community in Mato Grosso state and discussed with the community the project to protect the Kamayura culture through new technology. The idea to document and record the Kamayura tradition by the Kamayura people themselves, using modern technology, existed in the village for a while, however, due to lack of resources, the Kamayura were unable to start this process. Now, your generosity will turn this community-generated idea into reality. Everybody was excited to learn that the fundraising for the equipment started. The Kamayura identified a few people that would take a very active part in the project, once it starts, and that would carry it forward. Furthermore, we discussed creating a Kamayura Memory House (Casa das Memorias) in the village. This micro project would be an essential part in creating Casa das Memorias in the Kamayura village, a cultural point where the Kamayura traditions are collected, stored, and shared. One important thing that our donors need to be aware of is that the process of discussing and planning with an indigenous community is very different than what we imagine and it takes longer than one would expect. There are a lot of one-to-one discussions in informal settings ( on the way to the river, coming back from tending the manioc garden, around the fire waiting for the fish to cook). The discussions have to take place according to the community’s ways/rules, and following their own timing. These preliminary talks, which sometimes are very repetitive, have an important role, as they help interested community members to really understand how the project works (including fundraising over the internet). When people have enough information, the chief calls a general meeting in the center of the village, where facts and information is presented to everybody. While in Brazil, Maloca contacted Brazilian film makers and identified potential candidates to visit the village to provide training (filming, editing) to the Kamayura. We are in the planning phase, both with the community and the film makers, and it looks like the summer of 2014 will be a good time to have the first training session. This project will buy a good HD video camera for the Kamayura community. As prices are soaring in Brazil, the camera will be purchased in the US. The camera will be handed to the community personally by Maloca director, during the upcoming Summer 2014 trip. The months of June to September are the best for starting this project because this is the time where all the important rituals of the community take place, it is their “holiday season”. We are continuing our efforts to raise funds to purchase external hard drives (where all the films will be stored), and hopefully another camera.