Universiteit Leiden

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Research project

Educational materials Naduhup languages

The goal is to develop educational materials for Dâw, Hupd’äh, and Nadëb Indigenous peoples (Naduhup family; Middle and Upper Rio Negro; Brazilian Amazon). In order to achieve this, first of all, the fieldwork data collected during a collaborative project among anthropologists and linguists (2017-2020) and these three Indigenous groups will be organized, systematized, and selected to compose the didactic materials. As a second step, the selected material will be edited by a graphic designer in order to produce five different short bilingual (Indigenous and Portuguese languages) map-books. The overarching goal of this previous fieldwork research was to document the Naduhup people’s traditional knowledge of tracking, their sacred sites, as well as their ancient sites. In order to cover a wide range of aspects related to this knowledge, it was applied complementary methodologies such as the documentation of: i) the navigation in the forest and the clearing of paths together with a team of indigenous researchers; ii) shamanic discourse on tracking and the spiritual precautions related to practices of engaging with the forest; iii) narratives showing the collective memory on their ancient sites and ways of living; iv) the collection of maps representing their traditional lands in their paths drawn by community members; and v) the geographical register of the paths using GPS technology during walks in the forest by indigenous and non-indigenous researchers. This documentation resulted in a rich collection of photographs; audio-visual documentation of tracking practices and traditional narratives in both the indigenous languages and translated into Portuguese; drawings and georeferenced data. These elements have been unified and connected in a georeferenced database to be used with the means of cultural, linguistic and land protection for the Middle and Upper Rio Negro Basin Indigenous people. The intention of this proposal is finally to adapt and transform this database into for the communities’ accessible didactic materials. We follow with this proposal the desire expressed by members of the participating communities of returning this documentation in form of school materials in order to pass on these contents to the younger generations. At this moment, the remaining tasks involve the final organization, systematization, and selection of the audiovisual, textual, and drawn material, and to the graphic edition in order to compose five bilingual map-books for the following participating communities. Dâw, Hupd’äh, and Nadëb peoples have been facing drastic challenges in the recent decades, dealing with social pressure from the non-Indigenous society what profoundly impacts their collective life. Nowadays, the status of their languages is identified as critical by the “UNESCO Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger”, what, by itself, provokes academic researchers to consider ways how their work can have positive influence on counteracting dynamics of language loss, as well as on other social and cultural struggles.

Bruno Ribeiro Marques
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