Project Kremkrem kicks-off in Brazil

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Partner meetings and training in Project Cobra approaches

In April 2014, partners of Project Kremkrem met in Aldeia Piaraçú, Mato Gross do Sul to initiate the project…..

Photo Jay Mistry - Creative CommonsPhoto Jay Mistry – Creative Commons

“Considero a presente iniciativa um marco sem precedentes no Xingu. A ação antrópica e o desmatamento gerados pelo agronegócio têm potencializado, dia após dia, a sensação de insegurança entre os metyktire. O projeto é oportuno e chega em boa hora, oferecendo metodologia adequada com tecnologia de ponta e linguagem acessível, livre da formatação acadêmica impressa, que ainda não alcança a diversidade. Dar condições para que o Metyktire possa discutir o fogo enquanto ferramenta de subsistência, dádiva presente em suas narrativas mitológicas e problema socioambiental, é sobretudo humano. Percebe-se, por fim, que a visita da equipe e as atividades geradas em campo trouxeram boas impressões para a comunidade e fortaleceram, ainda mais, sua unidade social diante dos riscos ora iminentes, trazidos, inclusive, pelo fogo” (local collaborator).

P1120299Photo Jay Mistry – Creative Commons

The aim of the visit was to understand the context and issues around fire management in the Capota-Jarina Indigenous Territory, to train local Kayapó or Mêbengokrê researchers in techniques of participatory video and GPS mapping using Project COBRA approaches, and make a plan of action for research in the next six months. Project partners worked together over ten days, discussing the challenges and concerns over fire management, developing short videos to illustrate fire impact and mapping key locations for further study and prescribed burns. The visit ended with a visit to the main headquarters of Instituto Raoni in the nearby town of Colider where we were privileged to hear from and discuss the project aims with Mêbengokrê leaders, Megaron Txucarramãe and Chefe Raoni, renowned Indigenous leaders and activists.

P1120235Photo Jay Mistry – Creative Commons

The following are reflections from some of the Indigenous researchers on this first visit:

“Eu gostei do curso porque abriu mais minha mente. Ele me ajudou a ver o que é bom, para onde ir. Como o ensino do pajé. Assim mesmo”.

“Eu gostava de discutir os diferentes aspectos da manejo do fogo. É importante para os nossos filhos. Se eu e outros não fazem nada, o que o nosso povo dizer-nos no futuro? Nosso supermercado é a floresta, o rio, a terra de roҫa. O fogo poderia destruir isso, para nós e nossos filhos“.


Over the next months, the Indigenous researchers will be collecting information using video and GPS mapping on fire incidences on the borders of their territories. They will also be researching traditional fire management techniques and measuring the impact of using prescribed burns to manage potential damaging fires entering their land.

“My first comment is on the institutional support from our Brazilian counterparts, without which none of this would have been possible. This is the first time ever in more than 20 years of research in South America that we have been involved in a research project whose motivation comes from our local partners, rather than from us, as foreigners. Although the funding that we managed to get from the UK to support the research is limited (compared, for example, to the millions of euros spent on Project COBRA), the tremendous support received from the local partners made it feel like a million dollar project! This is not to say that additional funding to sustain the project in the long term isn’t necessary. On the contrary, this is one of the few occasions where any funding raised will go a very long way and have deep impacts” (Andrea Berardi, project partner).

Follow Jay Mistry:

Professor of Geography - Royal Holloway University of London

Jay has more than 22 years’ experience in teaching, researching and building capacity for natural resource management with local communities. Her particular interests include supporting local livelihoods and biodiversity conservation, local environmental governance, action research using participatory video and capacity building for natural resource management.