On this first trip to the Brazilian Amazon I am bringing as a piece of luggage ExCiteS’s theory, methodologies and tools to present to indigenous communities and representatives, as well as to their potential governmental and non-governmental partners. At this stage, the idea is to showour research group’s work to relevant stakeholders and to hear their opinions and ideas about it. It is also the time to understand the issues indigenous peoples are facing locally and to explore the possibilities for collaborative research with the ExCiteS team.
In this scoping trip to Acre State, I started my journey in a training course for the indigenous agroforestry agents that was taking place at a Katukina village, close to Cruzeiro do Sul city. The course was organised by the Association of the Indigenous Agroforestry Agents Movement from Acre State (AMAAIAC), and it aimed at training young indigenous Katukina, Nawa, Jaminawa, Arara, Nukini and Poyanawa in subjects such as indigenous and environmental legislation, and also practical themes, such as how to set up an agroforestry system in their villages. During the course, besides presenting ExCiteS tools and methods to them, I was asked by the association to give a class about the and about Indigenous Territorial and Environmental Management Plans (PGTAs). The discussions were an extremely interesting opportunity for knowledge sharing and for understanding some of the concerns of the indigenous representatives about their lands. A common concern was related to the pressures their lands are suffering from the increasingly intensive occupation of the surrounding areas, and the depletion of the natural resources for their subsistence activities caused by invasions from outsiders.
After this course I went to the capital city, Rio Branco, where I had several meetings. One of the most important of them gathered representatives from the AMAAIAC, the Organisation of the Indigenous Teachers of Acre (OPIAC), the Organisation of Indigenous Peoples from the Juruá
River (OPIRJ) and the , where I made a presentation about ExCiteS and we had a preliminary discussion of possibilities of projects and partnerships in the Juruá Valley region. Two key areas of interest were to set up a system for indigenous people to monitor land invasions; and another to co-develop strategies to enhance the protection of isolated tribes that cohabit the same territories as contacted tribes. As a result of this meeting, I was invited by AMAAIAC to present the possibility of collaborative research to the agroforestry agents during their annual training course, in July, when most of them will be together in Rio Branco. I also had the opportunity to talk to the Indigenous Advisory representative from the State Government, to the , to a member from the and from the recently created State Institute for Climate Change (IMC) in order to hear their ideas and to know about projects that are happening or are planned to happen in indigenous lands in the State.
This has been a very rich moment of meetings and discussions exploring possibilities for supporting local Amazonian people to collaborate with us to further develop the tools and approaches of Extreme Citizen Science. A truly collaborative research requires that people first understand wher
e all actors are coming from in order to identify themes for cooperation that will benefit everyone involved and ensure the necessary engagement for such a collective enterprise. This is the first step. There are still many to come.