Ancient Tribe Uses Technology to Preserve the Rainforest on Children of the Amazon Website

Posted on April 15, 2010

“I want our story to continue as long as the world exists.” —Chief Almir Surui The documentary Children of the Amazon, broadcasting this month on public television and Link TV (check local listings), follows Brazilian filmmaker Denise Zmekhol as she travels deep into the Amazon in search of the indigenous children she photographed 15 years before.  

A companion website — available in Portuguese and English — brings the innovations of modern communications technology to bear on the forces of destruction in this fragile ecosystem and its native people. Through a groundbreaking relationship with Google, the Surui tribe is using GPS, Google Earth, Android phones, and other digital media to document the devastation and connect with activists worldwide. Website highlights include: 

• Informative and entertaining videos documenting the Google Earth Outreach efforts with the Surui: Trading Bows & Arrows for Laptops (2008 and 2009)

• Blog posts from Chief Almir, activists, and NGO leaders working for rainforest conservation and to protect the livelihood of indigenous tribes 

• A shocking time-lapse satellite view showing the devastating loss of forest in the 40 years since the highway was bulldozed through the state of Mato Grosso 

• A Google Earth tour of the region and its history 

• An interactive map of the filmmaker’s journey into the interior 

Packed with information about everything from the history of sustainable rubber tapping and tapper-turned-rainforest-guardian Chico Mendes to ethnographic profiles of the Surui and Negarote tribes, the site provides updates on the people, a look behind-the-scenes of the making of the film, a vibrant photo gallery of then and now, and resources for people to get involved. In 2008, Zmekhol returned to the Amazon to document Google Earth Outreach training the Surui people to use technology to protect their forest, preserve their culture, and empower their people. Watch the video Trading Bows & Arrows for Laptops: 


Visit the Children of the Amazon website for more >>


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