We trained community filmmakers from nine indigenous communities in the North-East of India, from the Garo and Khasi Hills to Nagaland. The project sought to nurture autonomous community media across the region, bringing unique opportunities for traditional customs, food systems, beliefs, agricultural practices to be documented by the people, for the people.
The local filmmakers have engaged fellow community members to explore their own diverse cultures, food and agricultural systems. The result is a unique collection of videos – referred to locally as ‘an archive of our land, life, resources and culture’ – covering subjects as diverse as seed keeping, shifting cultivation, folk songs, local legends, traditional foods, weaving techniques, the future of agriculture, and much more besides.
This short ‘showreel’ introduces the groups involved, and the subjects covered, using clips from their own videos:
“Our mode of transmitting knowledge, skills, practices, histories, the way of life is through oral tradition. When there is no written documentation these disappear with the passing away of the knowledge holder. Participatory Video is contributing towards filling that gap.”
Seno Tsuhah, North East Network (NEN)
The group’s award-winning videos have been screened at numerous prestigious events across the region, including the Indigenous Terre Madre. Community screenings have led to vital community discussions and the uptake of traditional practices including a massive surge in millet growing amongst communities in the Khasi Hills. You can watch all the videos produced on the project’s YouTube channel.
This project was implemented with funding and support from The Indigenous Partnership for Agrobiodiversity and Food Sovereignty and NESFAS (North East Slow Food & Agrobiodiversity Society), in partnership with the North East Network (NEN).
A full report on the programme of trainings in the North-East of India is available from our Knowledge Hub.