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Yukuna elder prepares mambe, an ancestral medicine important to their identity.
Adivasi villager carries blocks of coal to sell in the black-market.
Adivasi families stop illegal prospection of mining on their ancestral forests.
A Maijuna family carries forest resources to sell at the local market.
Maijuna child learns traditional beekeeping practices.
Adivasi shaman recounts a time when their sacred spaces were uprooted to give way for coal mining.
Ayahuasca ceremony among the Noke Kuin people.
Adivasi girl takes her cattle for grazing in the armed-conflict area of Bastar.
Adivasi leader stands to protect his forest from mining.
Changpa woman assists her elder mother climbing down temple's stairs.
Displaced indigenous children gather for free food rations.
Caretos celebrate their ancestral Pagan rituals.
Adivasi frontliners gather before their forest patrol to keep corporate agents at bay.
Adivasi man carries a dia-lamp during the Karma ritual.
Adivasi elder women stand in front of the coal mine that today replaces their ancestral groves.
Maijuna clears out fallen trees in the Sucusari river.

Vítor da Silva

Private portfolio for the purposes of National Geographic Level I Grant 

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In this research I explore the relationship between ritual and resistance among the Noke Kuin people. The goal was to understand the different ways in which sacred rituals provide value to their lives, and analyse how the invocation of ritual codes relate to their capacity to resist against external threats.

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As the Himalayan ice caps melt into one big river, indigenous voices like those of the Changpa people, are being dissolved into a larger, but lonelier, whisper. As the glaciers continue to shrink, so too are our cultural, social and spiritual possibilities being narrowed into a monochromatic way of being.

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In this investigative project, I follow the lives of a group Adivasi women who stand with an open-chest to protect their sacred forests from coal mining. Over the course of three years, I have worked both undercover — to gather evidence of corporate illicit activities — and overtly, to intimately document the life and resistance of the affected communities.

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Adivasi communities are caught in the cross-fire of a war they never wanted to fight. These are their neglected accounts about the decade-long armed conflict between Maoists and state forces.

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In this ethnographic research I travel to the Colombian Amazon to live with one of the last Yukuna shamans. While many indigenous communities have been 'disintegrated' into the margins of nearby towns, Don Fermin and his family chose to stay back and live by the laws of the jungle and the will of the river.  

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In the Peruvian Amazon, a mega-development highway project threatens the ancestral lands of the Maijuna people. In this project, I work closely with men, women, children and elders to protect one of the most biodiverse ecosystems in the world — a place that has nurtured the Maijuna for generations.

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Sixteen HIV+ girls, who have been rescued from government shelter facilities after reports of serious maltreatment, found a new sense of self in this family-run hostel. But state authorities want to shut it down. The vulnerable girls are again threatened to be detached from the place they call home and the people they see as parents.

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In a remote Portuguese village, a community unites for the revival of a mask ritual, rooted in Pagan traditions from a few tribes that inhabited the Iberian Peninsula. 

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