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Sharing the “Living Forest” Through Community Cinema Workshops in Sarayaku

Rising Voices Amazonia Grantee Project Update

Compañerismo intercultural. Foto usada con autorización.

Intercultural companionship. Photo from project and used with permission.

In the Kichwa indigenous community of Sarayaku, a community cinema workshop was held on November 13-15, 2014. The workshop was organized by El Churo Collective, which is based in the city of Quito, in conjunction with the communications team from Sarayaku.

The workshop, which was aimed at students, leaders, community residents, and other guests from other communities, was rooted in the community, their concerns, and challenges in order to create a social communicative process.

Raúl y Andrea en el rodaje. Foto usada con autorización.

Raúl and Andrea during filming. Photo from project and used with permission.

Workshop facilitators were Diana Coryat (USA), Andrea Contreras (Mexico) and Roberto Chavez (Ecuador). Final-year high school students from the Sarayaku Education Unit, communications leaders from Tayjasaruta, Domingo, Verónica, and Rául Ankuash from the “Camera Shuar” project and Shuar indigenous community from the area of communications based in the Morona Santiago province, as well as a representative from the area of communications from the collective La Resistencia Ecuador.

Diana Coryat, facilitadora. Foto usada con autorización.

Diana Coryat, facilitator. Photo from project and used with permission.

The workshop focused on the pre-production and production of short films with the goal of showing cultural identity, reviving legends, and translating concepts such as “Kawsak Sacha (Living Forest)” and Sumak Allpa (Fertile Earth).

Abraham Gualinga (Tayjasaruta Vice-Presidents) tells us:

[El taller] Es una importante capacitación con elementos jóvenes de la comunidad donde tenemos la oportunidad de difundir nuestra lucha y la defensa de los recursos naturales donde se desarrolla nuestra vida. También es importante difundir los derechos humanos de los pueblos originarios no solo a nivel latinoamericano, sino también a nivel mundial.

[The workshop] is an important training for young members of the community, where we have the opportunity to share our struggle and the defense of natural resources where our life unfolds. It is also important to disseminate the human rights of the indigenous peoples not only in Latin America but also worldwide.

He adds:

El Kawsak Sacha es el espacio donde se desarrolla respetuosamente el equilibrio con la naturaleza, donde tenemos todo tipo de ecosistemas, sin contaminación, donde todo tiene vida y cada ser tiene su dueño. Defender los lugares sagrados es nuestra herencia para las futuras generaciones para que sean ellos quienes continúen valorando la existencia con una forma propia de vida, cultura y tradiciones.

Kawsak Sacha is the space where the balance with nature respectfully develops, where there are all types of ecosystems, without pollution, where everything has life and each being has its owner. To defend the sacred places is our legacy for future generations so that they can be the ones that continue to value existence with their own way of life, culture, and traditions.

Niños interesados en el taller. Foto usada con autorización.

Sarayaku children interested in the workshop. Photo from project and used with permission.

Communication is our right and we need to share the struggle of the people, to tell our stories in the context of a true construction of an intercultural and plurinational country.

Here we share the opinions by some of the participants of the workshop, such as Eriberto Gualinga, Sarayaku filmmaker who entered the audiovisual world in the late 90s when he realized these communities had many stories to tell:

Trabajamos con historias cortas donde se resume la información. Es importante para que los participantes adquiramos nuevas experiencias y desarrollemos nuevas técnicas que nos permitan perder el miedo y difundir nuestra realidad.

We worked with short stories where information is contained. It’s important so we the participants have new experiences, so we develop new techniques that allow us to lose fear and share our reality.

Esmeralda Rosales, photographer from Guayaquil at the Colectivo La Resistencia Ecuador, expresses:

Logramos generar interés entre todos los participantes, así comenzamos a contar historias desde adentro. La visión propia es la más importante para desarrollar el objetivo del taller.

We managed to generate interest among all participants, and we started to tell stories from within the community. Having our own vision is the most important thing to develop the goal of the workshop.

Meanwhile, Jairo Santi, communications director at Tayjasaruta – Sarayaku, said:

Estas capacitaciones sirven para difundir que en Sarayaku tenemos actividades de formación y que mantenemos una comunicación abierta.

These workshops are useful to spread the word that in Sarayaku we have training workshops where we keep an open communication.

Roberto Chávez, from Colectivo El Churo, shared:

La comunicación es un derecho. Históricamente los pueblos han sido despojados de este derecho. El proceso apropiarse de la comunicación y la difusión es un reto. La tecnología sirve para crear nuevos procesos de acompañamiento y juntarnos en busca de exigir nuestros derechos.

Communication is a right. Historically, communities have been deprived of this right. The process of communicational appropriation and broadcasting is a challenge. Technology is useful to create new processes to accompany the demanding of our rights.

Domingo Ankuash, Shuar cameraman, tells us:

La cámara es como una lanza, puede convertirse en un arma para defender nuestros derechos y que los jóvenes continúen con los valores y con la lucha que vienen peleando los viejos.

The camera is like a spear, it might become a defensive weapon to protect our rights and for young people to maintain the values and the struggles of the elders.

Image used with permission.

Image used with permission.

Text: Emilio González
Photographs: Esmeralda Rosales
Colectivo La Resistencia Ecuador


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