Flay Guajajara is an indigenous filmmaker you should know about.
Author: Ana Rosa
Leia em português.
The moviemaker Flay Guajajara first called my attention due to the mutual friends we have and because he lives in a community where Meli is already very active in, the Arariboia indigenous territory. But as I watched his movie for the first time, I was touched much deeper and I could see he is ready to show the world the complex reality of his people.
In short, Flay is a filmmaker and photographer from the Guajajara people in Maranhão, Brazil. He works as a communications coordinator for the indigenous region Araribóia.
At the age of 12, he already participated in an audiovisual training. Today he has produced several short films to communicate his cultural and territorial reality to the world.
With other Guajajara youth, he founded “Mídia Indía”, a well-stablished platform to potencialize Brazilian indigenous voices, share their news and campaigns.
His movie Ka’a Zar Ukyze Wà (Forest Keepers in Danger) gives a great overview about the Arariboia Indigenous Area, its recent history and the Awá Guajá, their uncontacted relatives who also live in the Arariboia. Flay shows how his indigenous territory is still an important and standing forest, regardless of the deforestation and constant invasions in the area.
We had the opportunity to watch the movie during the I International Decolonial Journey in Ochsenhausen and during Umundu Lisbon and could discuss it after both exhibitions, including with the participation of Jonas Guajajara.
Ben Dendur, one of the participants of the event in Ochsenhausen shared: “I was fascinated by the film. Especially the approach of the group in terms of contact with the previously uncontacted, indigenous people, impressed me very much. The fact that there are still uncontacted groups surprised me and showed me how important it is to preserve this precious and unique environment and to regenerate it if possible.”
I was also very touched by how Jonas Guajajara described the relationship between the Guajajara and the Awá. It’s all about care. They know the areas where the Awá live, in the middle of the indigenous territory, so they don’t hunt in these areas and their villages are positioned closer to the border in a way to protect their relatives against possible invasions.
Short after the exhibition in Lisbon, Flay share with us a very strong message: “For more than 40 years our territory has suffered from illegal logging. Funai (Brazilian National Indigenous Foudation) itself, believes our region is “lost land”. There was no more control [of deforestation in the region], many of my relatives were abused by the sale of wood in the region. So one of the struggles was to show that within our territory there are these isolated people, these relatives.”
The isolated people are being massacred with the destruction of the forest and their existence really is synonymous with resistance. “I always wanted to one day see or meet these isolated relatives, but I didn’t want someone to come and meet, see, or record the isolated people. However, destiny has traced our paths and by the unforeseen I was able to register and see the isolated relatives within the territory. And thus draw the world’s attention, show that Funai and others were wrong to think that our territory is a lost land.” Even the food security of the isolated people is under great threat. A few days ago Flay shared that his isolated relatives have come very close to his village, even eating from his uncle’s field.
Showing their reality through their audiovisual production is also a political weapon and he mentioned during his speech the current political situation in Brazil: “The current president said that during his government he would not demarcate even one centimeter of indigenous land. This hurt all the indigenous peoples, because we know our place. We know where we live and we respect our space, unlike these invasions that have invaded our territory.”
You can check his movie (subtitles in German and English) at Meli’s youtube channel: