Google Earth Preserving Indigenous Culture

I never realized the potential of Google Earth to preserve cultures.  Chief Almir Surui of the Brazilian Indigenous Surui recognized that Google Earth would enable his people to create and preserve a cultural map of their ancestral lands.  The article on Mashable provides an overview of the Surui project in text and video format.

Chief Almir Surui was concerned with two issues: loss of culture and unsustainable illegal logging of the Amazon. “These days you can’t separate talking about culture from talking about technology, there’s no separation between these things,” Chief Almir Surui told Mashable.  Chief Almir embraced technology and partnered with Google: training Elders and a group of young students on how to use laptops and cellphones to take pictures, videos, map locations and record stories.  The result is a technological record of Surui historical sites, land, animals and traditions.

I was struck by this story because I believe Chief Almir Surui recognized that his tribe was fighting a losing battle, and therefore needed to combine traditional methods with western technological approaches.  Combined, the elders and students have brought awareness to Amazon deforestation and the challenges affecting Indigenous people.



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