Brazilian indians use digital tools to preserve their traditions and the environment.

Searching for home on Google Earth was the spark that cacique (chief) Almir Surui needed to embark his tribe, the Paiter Surui, in a digital activism odyssey. The place that Almir and his tribe call home is the 7 de Setembro indigenous reserve, an area of about 250 thousand hectares located amidst the states of Rondônia and Mato Grosso, in the Brazilian midwest.

The image he saw on the computer screen scared him. Despite all their efforts throughout the years against illegal wood extraction in the region, he noticed a huge brown spot where there should have been an untouched forest. This shocking experience, however, brought him a valuable insight: he had just stumbled upon a whole new world, one where he could pass on his people’s conscience and traditions to all those interested. In his own words, “That technology, which takes one from a place to another without moving, reduced days of walking to mere seconds. It was something different. It made me dream and plan actions”.

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