by Amazon Frontlines

/ December 2020

Siekopai filmmaker Jimmy Piaguaje films elder and shaman Delfin Piaguaje collecting plants for the medicinal remedy, Lagartococha, August 2020

“During this pandemic, we have found strength in the path and wisdom of our ancestors. We’ve never lost our connection to our roots and knowledge. We continue to resist. Our cultures and forest hold the wisdom to heal our planet. We hope that our short film helps the world to understand this”, said 25-year-old Jimmy Piaguaje, who, along with his distantly related cousin 22-year-old Ribaldo Piaguaje, documented his people’s response to COVID-19 in the New Yorker film. “As young people, we will continue this struggle to recover our roots, so that the future generations do not forget and understand what it means to be truly Siekopai”, affirmed Ribaldo.

Over the past years, Jimmy and Ribaldo have dedicated themselves to using video, photography and social media to document the teachings of their elders and create stories about their peoples’ struggle for survival in the face of multiple threats, including extractivism, cultural loss and now a global pandemic. Working as part of the Indigenous-led non-profit organization Ceibo Alliance and supported by Amazon Frontlines’ Storytelling Program, which provides training and mentorship to a new generation of Indigenous communicators, Jimmy and Ribaldo launched a multi-part video series on their people’s ancestral medicinal plant knowledge in 2019.

Jimmy and Ribaldo are currently working on several new productions, including the forthcoming release of their new short film, “The Industry of Fire”, which documents the intensifying fire seasons in South America. The film will be released in early 2021 – stay tuned for more details soon!

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