Ciné-ONU Vienna: Brazilian Indigenous people at the frontline against deforestation

Every last seat was filled for the February Ciné-ONU Vienna screening of “THE TERRITORY”, a documentary by Alex Pritz which gives an immersive on-the-ground look at the tireless fight of the Indigenous Uru-eu-wau-wau people against the encroaching deforestation brought by farmers and illegal settlers in the Brazilian Amazon.

VIENNA, 13 February 2023 - The screening was followed by a panel discussion with Indigenous activist and Director of the NGO Cultural Survival Brazil, Edson Krenak, Programme Coordinator for Brazil and Mozambique at HORIZONT3000, Elisabeth Moder, and Communication Officer of the Creative Europe TAKING CARE Project / Weltmuseum Wien, Nora Haas.

During the discussion, moderated by UNIS Vienna Director, Martin Nesirky, Krenak expressed the view that “Indigenous people are at the front line of a fight for everyone”, underlining the importance of the protection of the Indigenous and the Amazon. A member of the audience from Brazil commented: “When I see the forest burning, I see a problem for humanity as a whole.”


Gleams of hope, however, were seen in the appointment of Sônia Guajajara as the first Indiginous Minister of the newly created Brazilian Ministry of Indigenous Affairs, said Krenak.

Furthermore, Elisabeth Moder said that Brazil has a well-organized civil society, which facilitates development co-operation projects. She herself has been working on a project that supports lawyers representing Indigenous people to different levels of authorities.

When asked what we as individuals can do, Krenak said it was important not to feel guilt but to get informed and get involved. Another Brazilian audience member pointed out that exercising our right to vote is a simple, yet crucial way of getting engaged and can make an impact even “all the way across the Atlantic”.

The role of ethnographic museums in fighting the climate crisis and raising awareness of the impact on Indigenous people was stressed by Nora Haas. She invited the audience to visit the upcoming exhibition “Extinctions!?”, which will be on display at the Viennese Weltmuseum from 23 February 2023 to 16 January 2024, as part of the project TAKING CARE.

Photos: Alex Pritz/Amazon Land Documentary, UNIS Vienna