This book includes a foreword by Sting, plus an introduction and endorsements by Sir Ghillean Prance, the British botanist and ecologist, and John Hemming, the historian and explorer and expert on Incas and indigenous peoples of the Amazon basin.
Sue Cunningham's photography has been published all over the world. She has exhibited in the UK, Switzerland, Brazil, USA and Japan. The heart of the Amazon is inaccessible and inhospitable, and contact with the tribes is something rarely experienced by outsiders. This book was only made possible because of Sue Cunningham's relationship with the Xingu tribes, developed over the past 30 years. The book highlights the resilience of the indigenous people against deforestation, dams and pollution.
Photojournalist Sue Cunningham and writer Patrick Cunningham celebrate cultural difference and call for better stewardship of the world. Sue's stunning photographs demonstrate the spiritual and material value of the Xingu tribes to all mankind; they keep the forest alive and they protect the climate of South America and the rest of the world. Their spiritual connection to their environment and the wider Earth shows us an alternative way to connect to the natural richness of the planet, built on foundations completely different from those of global materialism.
During their expedition by boat, the authors followed the course of the Xingu river, a tributary of the Amazon, travelling 2500 km through the heart of Brazil. They visited 48 tribal villages in this remote part of the Amazon, accessible only by small plane or by negotiating the rapids of the Xingu. This is the story of the tribal communities they met; their daily lives, their connection to the land and to the rivers, the threats which pervade each day of their lives. It is also a validation of their importance to the rest of the world; why these small, remote and often secretive indigenous communities are so important to our own lives and to our shared planet. It is a celebration of their vibrant cultures, their rituals and their rites of passage, of cultures very different from each other, but with a shared spiritual basis which respects the trees, the rivers and the rain. And it is a call for the world to protect them, their lands and their forests and rivers from the destruction which our avaricious greed for natural resources drives ever closer and deeper into their realm.
Number of pages: 208
Dimensions: 252 x 310 mm
Incredibly it has been almost 30 years since Sue Cunningham and I first shared a visit to the Xingu. We were younger then, and filled with hope for the future of our Kayap friends. We were encouraged by the recently-adopted 1988 Brazilian constitution which explicitly recognised the rights of all of Brazil's indigenous peoples. Great things have been achieved since then. By setting up the Rainforest Foundation we persuaded the Brazilian government to establish the Menkragnoti Indigenous Territory, which is twice the size of Wales, back in 1991. By 2012 deforestation had fallen to its lowest level since records began, and nowadays there are many well-qualified indigenous teachers, nurses, even lawyers and town councillors, all working for their communities. Our indigenous friends are more confident in the strength of their culture and in their own spiritual values. Sue and Patrick have never ceased to fight for the rights of indigenous people by dedicating their time to raise public awareness of the challenges facing them, and working tirelessly to support the Indians at every step. This book charts the changes in the lives and fortunes of these incredible people. It focuses on their humanity and on their individuality. It shows that they are people, just as we are people, and not simply exotic objects. It tells us that they have a fundamental right to our respect, and that we have an obligation to protect their land, their environment and their chosen way of life. But the book is a timely reminder that Brazil's indigenous people live under constant threat. In the last five years deforestation has crept upwards again, reaching dangerous levels which threaten to undermine global efforts to curb climate change, and recently the politics of Brazil has turned against its indigenous peoples. Demarcation of their lands has ground to a halt and there are powerful moves to remove many of the rights recognised in the 1988 constitution.--Sting "This book charts the changes in the lives and fortunes of these incredible people. It focuses on their humanity and on their individuality. It shows that they are people, just as we are people, and not simply exotic objects. It tells us that they have a fundamental right to our respect, and that we have an obligation to protect their land, their environment and their chosen way of life."--Sting As someone who has travelled extensively in the Amazon forest and amongst Its native peoples this book brings back so many memories for me. The Cunningham's journey down the Xingu River was no easy task, but they achieved and recount here an epic journey that so vividly describes their adventures, the Amazon rainforest and particularly the inhabitants with whom they have such a special relationship.--Professor Sir Ghillean Prance FRS Sue and Patrick Cunningham's vision of the indigenous peoples of the Xingu river basin is unique in many ways. They were the first outsiders ever to take six months descending the full length of that mighty Amazon tributary. On that epic and many other journeys, they had permission to visit almost fifty villages, of a wide variety of tribes. They were welcomed as old friends, so could join in everyday life, shamanic rituals, and spectacular festivals. They were accomplished photographers and observers. And they were seeing Brazilian Indians at a fascinating time in their transition from traditional to more modern society.--Dr John Hemming CMG