Methodology of Collaborative Cultural Mapping

ACT Brazil believes that the best path to safeguarding the environment and strengthening culture in native lands can be expressed as three processes: mapping, managing and protecting. These processes are intrinsically connected because the cultural and land use mapping process supports collective discussions that result in plans and strategies for environmental conservation and territorial protection. This manual has been designed to encourage comparisons and an exchange of information with other environmental protection methodologies, especially in light of the fact that several other institutions currently work with methodologies similar to that applied by ACT Brazil.

Cultural collaborative mapping contributes to a better local understanding of social and environmental issues: the resident communities are given the opportunity to systematize their knowledge regarding their territory and to increase and perpetuate that knowledge through debates that engage the communities’ leadership, elders, youth, and women according to their social context and community priorities. When a community is able to
systematically articulate and represent its knowledge of its lands, it gains the necessary tools to establish laws, manage productive systems, implement protection methodologies and improve its quality of life. João Evangelista, a representative of the Tiriyo indigenous people, has stated that the process has taught his community to have greater concern for the integrity of its lands and to place a higher value on its traditional culture.

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