Xavante Tree Nursery Project
30 Jun 2008
Emily Burridge founder of the Indigenous People’s Cultural Support Trust tells us about her Xavante Tree Nursery Project.
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The composer and ‘cellist Emily Burridge having been inspired by the natural environment of the Mato Grosso of Brazil composed her first CD “Earth Songs”. Through an invitation to perform this music at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 she had an exstrodinary encounter with some Xavante Indians who are indigenous to th Mato Grosso region in Brazil. As a result of this contact she founded the registered charity “Indigenous People’s Cultural Support Trust” and during the next four years worked in close collaboration with the Xavante community and local Brazilians to implement a solar powered health centre and medicinal garden project deep within the reserve.
The health centre was inaugurated in 1998 and a medicinal garden project was established.
In 2006 I returned and visited the project. I had just completed the writing of my third CD “Bridge between Worlds” which incorporates the Xavante traditional singing within the music. On arrival in the region I was shocked to see the impact of the mono-culture of the soya, evident both physically in the natural environment and psychologically with the indigenous community. The soya has created pressure on the natural habitat with wild animals and birds numbers falling dramatically and so too the Xavante ability to feed themselves with their traditional hunting.
A view of the reserve through using the internet facility Google Earth made me even more aware of the need to help the Xavante community preserve species of the Cerrado and offer a positive initiative to the impact of the soya cultivation.
So I have started an initiative to combat climate change through a tree nursery project together with an educational program with the indigenous community in the cultivation and preservation of native species within their reservation.
In collaboration with the community the infrastructure for a tree nursery will be funded and implemented. We will employ persons knowledgeable in the field to work together with the indigenous community and establish an educational program in the cultivation and preservation of native species of the Cerrado. The educational programme will include ‘weekend’ workshops at three monthly intervals for the community and the training of Xavante tribes people selected by the community to maintain and develop the Tree Nursery.
The project is connected to climate change by offering to individuals and businesses the chance to select Cerrado trees for planting by the Indigenous community to contribute to off setting CO2 emissions. The Carbon offsetting and income generated would be managed by the Trust in the UK.
We hope to achieve this through aiding the Xavante establish a Tree Nursery we aim to initiate the regeneration of species within the reservation.
Proposed timeline for establishing the tree nursery project is three years. Initial setting up of the area for the tree nursery will commence in May 2008. The development of the project will be closely monitored through the educational program which will be assessed after a year. At this time the development of the project will be appraised with a view to continuing the education program on the reserve for a further two years.
There is a motivated group of Brazilians based relatively close in Chapada dos Guimaraes running an NGO called ARCA. There they have established a small tree nursery and have been actively campaigning for the preservation of the Cerrado in the Chapada region for the last twenty years. One of them has already lived with the Xavante and is a trusted friend and accepted by the tribal group. He will be initially responsible for the educational program with close monitoring and support from Mario Friedlander who originally founded Arca.
Emily has set up the Humming Bird Fund throughwhich she donates 15% of royalties from the production “Bridge between Worlds” to projects that support the Xavante community. The CD can be purchased from her web site as well as downloaded from itunes.
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