Reporting Bees and Culture: Native Beekeeping and Cultural Support for the Printi-Pàr Indigenous Village

See how the project supported the local biodiversity, the community’s resilience, education and protection of cultural heritage, food sovereignty and economic security.

Authors: Deborah Happ and Ana Rosa de Lima
Leia em Português. Auf Deutsch lessen.


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The project Native Beekeeping and Cultural Support for the Printi-Pàr Indigenous Village were created for the purpose of establishing and managing the practice of native (stingless) beekeeping in the village and to thereby offering a productive and environmentally sustainable alternative for the local community, which is faced with social, environmental and cultural challenges that are aggravated by being located in the centre of the Arc of Deforestation. The indigenous territory is directly affected by industrial expansion in the region since this area is traversed by the railway that links the Mining Province of Carajás to the port of São Luís and by the Eletronorte electrical power transmission line, which starts at the Tucuruí Hydroelectric Power Station.
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The main objective of the project is to have a positive impact on the local biodiversity, the resilience of the community, education and protection of cultural heritage, food sovereignty and economic security. These activities were part of the 2021 project, the fruit of the partnership between ACT-Brasil, Meli Network (Meli Bees Network gUG) and Associação Indígena Mpaja Mar Kaxuwari Parkatejê.

The project was initiated when the village was called Printi-Pàr. However, its name has been recently changed to Tokurykti Jõkrikatejê.

The following activities were envisioned in the first phase of this project:
• a Storytelling and Photography Workshop;
• a Workshop on Native Beekeeping and Establishment of Collective Native Beehives in the Village; and
• an Initial Supervision of Native Beekeeping Activities.

Storytelling and Photography Workshop

We view the Storytelling and Photography Workshop as an opportunity for exchange with the community, for the purpose of becoming better acquainted with the context, challenges and desires of the community. This activity envisages the engagement of the members and strengthens the resilience of the community and the education and protection of their cultural heritage.

Local Storytelling is an opportunity for hearing and appreciating the stories of the community. The “stories” can be varied, such as the “story” of how to construct an article belonging to the community or the “story” about cooking a typical dish of the community, and this, in particular, was demonstrated during the workshop. We included the subject of Photography after realizing, during previous conversations, that there was strong interest in this subject among the members and leaders of the village.

Member of Printi-Pàr community during Meli’s Storytelling Workshop. Picture by Nubia Suriane.
Printi-Pàr community member and Cynthia de Lima during Storytelling Workshop. Photo by Nubia Suriane.
Cythia de Lima and Printi-Pàr community member read stories produced during our Storytelling Workshop. Photo by Nubia Suriane.
Printi-Pàr community member poses with her camera, ready for the Photography Workshop. Photo by Nubia Suriane.

Native Beekeeping Workshop

The Workshop on Native Beekeeping and Establishment of Collective Native Beehives in the Village is an activity that focuses on the development of stingless beekeeping itself and on the methodical breeding of stingless bees, with a view to having a positive impact on the local biodiversity and on food sovereignty and economic security.

The stingless bees are native to the area where the work is being carried out, the indigenous territory of Mãe Maria, and for this reason, local knowledge about such species, as well as better means of interacting with them, is fundamental. It is also important to emphasize that the bees provide vital ecosystem-related services to the local environment. The development of native beekeeping also strengthens the production of local foodstuffs, in addition to enhancing the potential for productive activity within the community.

Printi-Pàr community child observes the bees during Meliponiculture Workshop. Photos by Rayda Lima.
Native beehive. Photo by Rayda Lima.
Printi-Pàr community child tries honey comb. Photo by Rayda Lima.
Native stingless bee. Photo by Rayda Lima.
Meli agents and Printi-Pàr community after Meliponicultura Workshop. Photo by Rayda Lima

Download and read our full report here.

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