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Survival International's 'Tribes From the Air' Marks UN Indigenous Day

Survival International
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August 8, 2012

Survival has published an aerial photographic gallery of tribes and their lands to mark the 18th UN International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples.

In a unique collaboration of renowned international photographers, the audio slideshow pulls together 18 images of tribal and indigenous communities and their diverse lands.

It visits Brazil’s famously photographed uncontacted Indians; the sub-arctic territory of Canada’s Innu tribe; the descendants of the first people to successfully migrate from Africa to Asia, and many more.

Aerial photographs of uncontacted Indians in Brazil caught the world’s imagination. (Gleison Miranda/FUNAI/Survival)

The photographs selected by Survival show the remarkable stewardship of tribes when managing their land and its natural resources.

Starting at the lowest point in Africa, the gallery journeys to the world’s largest iron-ore mine in the heart of the Amazon and onto a remote Indian island whose inhabitants survived the world’s deadliest tsunami.

‘Tribes from the air’ looks at the power of ancestral knowledge, tribal peoples’ rights to the land, as well as the threats development brings if they are not properly consulted.

Hunters from Kenya’s Maasai tribe. (Caroline Halley des Fontaines/Survival)

Celebrated photographers Tim Allen and Yann Arthus-Bertrand are just two of the artists whose work features in the gallery.

Survival’s Director Stephen Corry said today, ‘UN indigenous day is an opportunity to celebrate tribal and indigenous people. Their languages, knowledge of their environment and connection with their lands, teach those of us in the industrialised world things we don’t know. These photographs show us what it is to be human, by illustrating the diversity of tribal lives.’


UN International Day of the World’s Indigenous People is observed each year on 9th August to raise awareness of the problems facing indigenous people, and to help improve their human rights.

French photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand’s book ‘Earth from Above’ documents the world’s most beautiful landscapes. It has sold more than 3 million copies and appears in 24 languages.

Tim Allen was the stills photographer for the BBC’s acclaimed Human Planet series, which attracted a record 5.1 million viewers.

Award-winning photographer Dominick Tyler explores the relationship between people and their landscapes, often focusing on people and places in transition.

The focus of this year’s International Day is "Indigenous Media, Empowering Indigenous Voices".

A special event at UN Headquarters in New York on 9 August will feature speakers and videos of indigenous media organizations, with a live webcast. On Twitter, use #UNIndigenousDay for regular updates and for sending questions to panel members in the days leading up to and during the event.

Download the press release and program (PDF)

  Check out Survival International: Uncontacted Tribes

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