Indigenous people are experts on planetary health. It’s why Health In Harmony, a nonprofit dedicated to reversing global heating, is listening to and acting on the experiences of rainforest communities across the world.
Health In Harmony was founded on the knowledge that rainforest communities are experts on planetary health. It’s why they arrived in Xipaya Indigenous Land—a region in northern Brazil that was in 2015 ruptured by the construction of Belo Monte Hydroelectric Dam—with no agenda and no plans. Instead, they asked the Indigenous people living in the territory’s five villages what they needed. For Juma Xipaia, the territory’s first female leader, the respect and recognition of Indigenous knowledge and expertise was a pleasant surprise. “It’s no use to wish to understand our needs without hearing directly from the communities and seeing the reality of each individual,” she said. “[That’s why] Health In Harmony was very well-received.” Since their collaborative work began, the first Xipaya project—with support from Health In Harmony—will be a traditional medicine center to revitalize the use of Indigenous healing practices. The Xipaya are also evolving the Carimã village, with the aim of preserving traditional customs and knowledge systems after the damage caused by Belo Monte.