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Ep 4: Black Soil, 2022
The indigenous “terra preta” (litt. black soil) is simultaneously archaeology research object, ancestral agricultural technique and tool of struggle for land demarcation. Formed over centuries by the organic waste left by residents of both old and current villages, terra preta is proof that the rich Amazonian soil is the result of a long, lively and harmonious exchange between humans and non-humans, and that its forest is much more garden than virgin forest.
This recognition creates a paradoxical situation, because, at the same time that terra preta is the most coveted by agribusiness for being the most fertile soil, its existence is sufficient to demarcate entire lands and thus save them from an always predatory exploitation. It proves that the original peoples are those who designed this geology and therefore, even if they do not put themselves as the owners of the land, they belong to it.
Both interviews of this episode were conducted by Takumã Kuikuro, filmmaker of the Kuikuro people and resident of Xingu Indigenous Park, one of the world largest indigenous reserves, set in the northeast area of Mato Grosso State and in the southern part of Brazilian Amazon. The Park gathers 16 peoples on an area equivalent to Belgium. Despite being an environmental preservation centre, it lives under constant threats from agribusiness, hydroelectric dams and the pollution generated by surrounding mining.
Takumã spoke to his parents, Saguiga and Tapualu Kuikuro, renowned Xingu leaders. They bring out the intimate and ancestral relation of their bodies with the earth. In their speeches, both historical and mythological time blend, the presence of an ancient village with the pipa toad tricks, the ancestors gestures with the role of the spirits. As well as the spiral spinning of time, their lines also go in a circle, and the words are repeated throughout the conversation to become the chorus of a story told from parents to children. So we find that what rots today is the soil for the upcoming life.
Casa do Povo
Tapualu Kuikuro | Born and raised in Kalapalo village. She became a historian with her father. She took part in the film Imbé Gikegü, The smell of pequi (2006, presented by Kuikuro Film Collective and produced by Vídeo nas Aldeias, Aikax – Kuikuro Indigenous Association of the Upper Xingu and Documenta Kuikuro/National Museum). She supports her son’s work, filmmaker Takumã Kuikuro. Currently lives in Ilhumba, a village in the Xingu indigenous land, M.T. State.
Sagigua Kuikuro | Shaman, he grew up learning the stories of his own people. Traditional singer and historian, he participated in the films Nguné Elû, The day the moon menstruated (2004, presented by Kuikuro Film Collective and produced by Vídeo nas Aldeias) and Imbé Gikegü, The smell of pequi (2006, presented by Kuikuro Film Collective and produced by Vídeo nas Aldeias, Aikax – Kuikuro Indigenous Association of the Upper Xingu and Documenta Kuikuro/National Museum). Currently lives in Ilhumba, a village in the Xingu indigenous land, Mato Grosso State.