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CC: Indigenous people see Web3 as an opportunity for growth and cultural preservation

Discover indigenous initiatives in blockchains and see the benefits of this relationship

Source: My crypto channel

Publication date: September 22, 2023

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Photo: Reproduction (Vecstock/ Freepik)

Web3 can be a great opportunity for anyone to leverage their products, and can bring benefits in several ways, such as boosting NFTs (non-fungible tokens) arts. This is the case of some indigenous peoples in Brazil who took advantage of this new universe to showcase their culture through blockchain.

Projects in Brazil

Using decentralized technology, indigenous peoples take advantage of the space to bring their culture to Web3, in addition to protecting their histories. In recent years, several projects have emerged in Brazil with this purpose. An example of these is the creation of octaEra, a platform in the metaverse that aims to bring knowledge about the country's original peoples.

The project aims to strengthen indigenous and nature preservation causes. According to the octaEra website, this mission is now taking place “with more strength and expansion, thus allowing more people to have access to these places, knowledge and experiences”.

Another case is INDIGENA.ART, which supports indigenous artists to create their own NFTs. The initiative is created by IT professional and activist for protecting the rights of indigenous peoples, Elias Oyxabatena, also creator of the digital currency OYX. Oyxabatena says he saw “technology is like a defense mechanism and a mechanism to strengthen the voice of indigenous peoples to fight”.

The project's history began after the difficulties faced by Oyxabatena when producing t-shirts with prints. He says that after learning about the technology, he began working with indigenous artists to show “our daily lives, our experiences, our difficulties and our struggle”.

“We launched our gallery to raise funds so that we can carry out social actions, carry out projects, raise funds for our people and thus also seek our financial independence. This way, we can be developing activities within our community and thus also preserving our ancestry”, highlighted Oyxabatena.

INDIGENA.ART aims to empower artists with training on this universe. After this support, creators make their art available for sale in the project's collaborative collection, with no need for additional commission. With the arts published, the project also provides specialized support for buyers and artists.

Cinematographer, indigenous photographer and creator of INDIGENA.ART's Pamürimasa photographic project, Paulo Desana, states that in addition to physical spaces, virtual spaces are a way for these artists to be recognized. For him, this dissemination with technology “means that people who work directly in the virtual world can only get to know our art”.

He went to Web3 with an invitation from INDIGENA.ART, but Desana said he was already curious about this universe before. The cameraman states that he didn't know how to make this migration, so he thought it would be better to stay in conventional cultural spaces.

“It was really cool for us to be able to go into this universe, which is also, after all, a way of promoting our art.” added Desana.

Complications and future of the partnership

Even with these advances, there is still a prejudice against this relationship. In July 2023, the National Foundation of Indigenous Peoples (Funai) banned a cryptocurrency company from an agreement with indigenous people in Pará. The company's Green Forever project intended to convert carbon credits into tokens.

In a document obtained by Folha de São Paulo, Funai advised that the contract between the company and the Suruí Aikewaras, from the Sororó Indigenous Land, should not continue. The organization also raised concerns to guide indigenous people about the inherent risks of the partnership.

However, it is possible to take many advantages from this union. Oyxabatena points out that this mechanism can indeed be used on a positive side for communities.

“So I saw the mechanism of technology not as something that comes to end culture, but rather to strengthen it, to add and echo our voice of struggle even further around the world”, he highlights.

On the INDIGENA.ART website, the environmental impact on NFTs is addressed and the project warns about the criticisms discussed about the Bitcoin (BTC) mining process. The initiative says it adopted the Ethereum (ETH) cryptocurrency to make sales, valuing the reduction in energy consumption.

Oyxabatena also highlights that this relationship is beneficial for indigenous communities, in a process of preserving the culture of these peoples. For him, with the project it is possible to show the reality of indigenous people to the world and also save “our culture, our language, our songs, our dances, immortalizing our experience within the blockchain with technology”.

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