As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread in Amazonia, indigenous and local communities are some of the most vulnerable.

While we have had to leave our offices and field locations and pause many of our projects, we have strategically pivoted to address communities’ most pressing needs in the face of the current global health crisis.

This is how we have reshaped our current priorities in response to COVID-19

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The Amazon is burning. Parts of the Brazilian Amazon are experiencing unprecedented fires. Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research has reported a recent 84% increase in forest fires from the same period in 2018. Brazil’s largest city, Sao Paulo, experienced a blackout caused by smoke from the fires. Ecosystems are being devastated and countless indigenous…

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ACT’s oral histories documentation initiative is designed to prevent the irretrievable loss of an invaluable source of historical and cultural knowledge; much like ACT’s flagship Shamans and Apprentices program, it seeks to help halt the loss of traditional knowledge of medicine and healing. As in that latter program, we are not solely interested in documentation…

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For remote forest communities, steady sources of renewable power can improve air quality, minimize tree harvesting, and provide domestic lighting for the evening work, especially important for children’s studies. In the Waura village of Ulupuene, which is situated along the banks of the Batovi River within the confines of the Xingu Indigenous Territory in Brazil,…

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Oral Histories in a Waurá Community: In the village of Ulupuene, which partners with ACT, two elders and community leaders passed away: the regional “keeper of songs and dances,” Yakuana, who took with him a vast wealth of knowledge about Waurá cultural practices; and most recently, Aluakumá (“Big Bat”), a village elder, shaman, and healer. Both men were revered, and their kin expressed that they had lost more than just a loved one—they had lost an unrecoverable repository of cultural knowledge.

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