Environmental and indigenous fight

Environmental+and+indigenous+fight

Akasha Khalsa

NMU departments to bring photos and videos that show intersection of two struggles

The Amazon Rainforest: lush, green, ancient and heartbreakingly fragile. This jungle, which preserves an enormous portion of the world’s biodiversity, is home to many indigenous communities struggling to protect their ways of life. Faced with the unyielding menace of slash-and-burn deforestation and the steady encroachment of gas-producing cattle ranches, the beauty of this irreplaceable ecosystem, along with its ancient peoples, has been threatened for decades. For many activists, half the battle is promoting awareness of this ongoing and ignored catastrophe—they must use the power of visual media to capture the limited, fickle attention of the global community.

Two speakers will present “Imagining the Amazon: Film and Photography” April 11 and 12 that focuses on the Amazon, indigenous movements and environmental concerns from 6 to 8 p.m. in Weston Hall 2902. Today, Gustavo P. Furtado will present “The Amazonian Indigenous Cinema” and Carolina Sá Carvalho will present “Violence and Technology in the Amazon: Photographs of the Madeira-Mamoré Railroad.”

“The Amazon in film and photography is an almost all-encompassing subject,” event organizer and Spanish language professor Maria Arenillas, said in an email. “Through the analysis of images, students will gain perspective on some of the history of the region: environmental issues, indigenous movements, contacts and struggles…these talks can draw a variety of majors. As we live on the shores of Lake Superior, in the Anishinaabe land, we can relate to many of the concerns these images bring light to.”

On Friday, April 12, a follow-up discussion on environmental issues and related indigenous movements, along with the screening of the short film “Ten Thousand Years Older” will play from 12 to 1:30 p.m. in Jamrich 1318. This 10-minute 2002 documentary by Werner Herzog explores the discovery of a
Brazilian indigenous tribe and how the modern world impacts tribal members.

“It is not about taking images, or resources or people’s stories, but to encounter them to produce something else, hopefully better, together,” Arenillas said. “This is [what] interculturality looks like.”

Furtado is an assistant professor of Brazilian and Portuguese studies at Duke University specializing in Brazilian cinema and cultural studies, media theory, documentary studies and contemporary world cinema. Sá Carvalho is an assistant professor of Portuguese and Spanish at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her areas of expertise include 19th and 20th century Brazilian and Latin American literatures, photography, studies of empire, mapping, memory and relationships between literature, science and technology.

“I have collaborated with Furtado in the past and I met Sá Carvalho through him at the Latin American Studies Association conference last May in Spain,” Arenillas said. “Their work dialogues very well, so I decided to invite them to our campus.”

This event is presented by the Department of Languages, Literatures and International Studies, the Department of Earth, Environmental and Geographical Studies and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.