We are one - A celebration of tribal peoples

Created and Edited by Joanna Eede

We are one coverHere is a quote from another book, “Penan: Voice for the Borneo Rainforest” - an unusual way to carry out a review perhaps, but it sums up the features of this Survival International book very well.

“Dawat took a deep breath and came wondrously alive. His eyes and arms almost danced as he made an impassioned plea for his forest and his people. For nearly an hour the power of the forest spoke through him, and when he ended there was an abrupt silence. For a few moments all us of sat quietly as the jungle sounds of distant birds and drumming cicadas filled the air. Although the details of what he said came only several months later when the interview was translated, we all sensed in our hearts that we had heard something both poetic and profound.”

The book by Survival International has the hallmarks of a ‘coffee table book’ - copious photographs punctuated by brief but memorable quotations and writings. It’s beautifully edited by Joanna Eede and she has brought together contributions from far and wide including Davi Yanomami, Bruce Parry, Jane Goodall, Damien Hirst, Richard Gere, Zac Goldsmith, A.C Grayling and Robin Hanbury-Tenison… among many many others.

But the stars of the show are undoubtedly the glorious photographs, which take the reader on a global journey of beauty and diversity. They provide an extraordinary study of landscapes and people at odds with the global definition of ‘progress’.  

I have to agree that as a celebration of tribal peoples, this book achieves what it sets out to do, but this is tempered by the fragility of these ways of life. So the question remains, as with the quoted passage in italics, whether the message to the heart is transformed to successful action to allow self-determination of tribal peoples and their land rights.

All royalties go to Survival International.

Ian Martin, 17th December 2009

Quadrille Publishing, in Association with Survival International £30.

Stories from Survival:

Borneo: Penan arrested while roadblocks come down


The blockades erected by the Penan in August to prevent their forest being destroyed have been dismantled according to Survival International.

Peru: UN tell Peru to ask for drilling consent


The news from Peru continues to unravel and in the latest installment the UN have instructed Peru's government to get "informed consent" from indigenous people prior to drilling.

Borneo: New blockades as Penan fight loggers with blowpipes


Penan people with blowpipes on logging road Twelve villages in Borneo have joined forces to try and stop the encroachment of logging and plantation companies into their ancestral lands.

Peru: Government investigates illegal logging


It was reported last week that a conservationist from Round River Conservation Studies had taken photos of illegal loggers inside a Peruvian reserve. The Peru government will investigate.

Aerial photos show loggers inside Indian reserve


picture of a clearing in the forest used by loggers Photos taken from the air above an Indian reserve for voluntarily isolated communities in the Amazon appear to show illegal logging camps.

Call for action on UN Indigenous Peoples' Day


picture of a yanomami indian Sunday the 9th August 2009 marks the UN's Indigenous Peoples' Day as Survival International renews its call for countries to sign up to the international law for tribal peoples.

Penan people fight back against loggers


picture of a truck carrying lots of logs Survival International report from Borneo where the Penan people are fighting back against the loggers destroying the forest.