Categories Blog, Events, Events organised or co-organised by the consortium, Multimedia

Celebrating the diversity of life: a social-cultural exchange

To commemorate the end of the 2023 General Assembly, we held an informal space for Members and Honorary members to share songs, stories, videos and more from territories of life around the world. Enjoy the highlights!

First published on 07/10/2023, and last updated on 07/17/2023

By the ICCA Consortium

Cultural traditions

From 29 May to 1 June 2023, the Moroccan Biodiversity and Livelihoods Association (MBLA, ICCA Consortium Member) organised the second annual biocultural festival of Morocco. This video shows the Ahidous dance from the community of Ait M’hamed in the province of Azilal, shared during the opening ceremony of the festival. This year’s festival was held under the theme “Supporting Territories of Life: A Shared Responsibility” and featured a variety of themed workshops, cultural activities and sporting events to ensure the participation of men, women and young people of all ages. A recap will be shared online soon. In the meantime, check out the recap of the first biocultural festival in Morocco, held in July 2022.

A beautiful video (11:46) about the Pib tradition of the Mayan people in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. The day of the finados (people who have passed away) is an important time and space set aside during the first days of November to remember and make offerings. Throughout the year or close to these dates, families prepare the supplies to set a table with the favourite food of the deceased. They also prepare the Pib, a meal made with corn dough, cowpeas, chicken, achiote, epazote, tomato and other ingredients, which is cooked in an earth oven. It is part of the rituality of celebrating the life of people who have passed away, which includes prayers and preparing the houses to receive them, as shown in the video, where the Mayan house and the milpa stand out. This video was shared during the social-cultural exchange by Sharon Renee from U Yich Lu’um (ICCA Consortium Member and host of the regional coordination team for Mesoamerica).

A short video from Ecuador (05:33) about Inti Raymi. This celebration through music and dance is a symbol of the Indigenous Andean peoples’ gratitude to Pacha Mama (Mother Earth) for good harvests. It was shared during the exchange by Yvets Morales from ALDEA (ICCA Consortium Member) and the Secretariat’s new communications coordinator for Latin America.

This music video (03:31) shows a song called Banwa ko. It is from Palawan Island (Philippines), home to at least six ethnolinguistic groups, including Tagbanwa, Pala’wan, Batak and Molbogs. The dances are a fusion of these different groups. The video was shared during the social-cultural exchange by Femy Pinto from NTFP-EP (ICCA Consortium Member and host of the regional coordination team for Southeast Asia). To learn more about the Tagbanwa of Coron Island, check out this photo essay prepared by several ICCA Consortium Members in the Philippines in early 2023.

“Requiem for Ainu and Kamui”

“Requiem for Ainu and Kamui” (“Requiem for Ainu and their gods”) consists of two site-specific performances by the Ainu Women’s Association in Japan and Amareya Theatre. The five Ainu women who comprise the cast say, “We are still here.” The artistic performances show the search for the Ainu’s family origins in the face of discrimination, the co-existence with nature in the original territory, the wounds caused by the assimilation of imposed norms, the disappearance of cultural practices such as tattooed lips and the dichotomy between a hidden heritage and modernity. The Centre for Environmental and Minority Policy Studies (CEMiPoS, ICCA Consortium Member) shared these videos for the social-cultural exchange.

Solidarity Actions

In this short video (04:34), Indigenous leaders from Sarawak (Malaysian Borneo) and their UK supporters grieve the destruction of Earth’s rainforests and demand an end to the greenwashing of dirty timber from their native lands. Celine Lim (SAVE Rivers, ICCA Consortium Member) and Komeok Joe (KERUAN Organisation) bestow a traditional Sarawak longhouse ‘ash blessing’ on participants, beneath Cecilia Vicuña’s ghostly “Brain Forest Quipu” installation at the Tate Modern, before leading a funeral procession through London. The UK is the third largest importer of MTCS-certified Malaysian timber. Take action and subscribe for news updates at: This video was shared during the social-cultural exchange by Femy Pinto from NTFP-EP (Member and host of the regional coordination team for Southeast Asia). Learn more about the legal intimidation and harassment tactics that Malaysian companies are wielding against SAVE Rivers in attempt to silence them.


“Miyanoanood kano Mangononong”

Sung live during the exchange by Sutej Hugu (ITW-SDA, ICCA Consortium Member; and Inter-regional Coordinator in the Secretariat)

“kanig rana no makacita tao
do kajingayowayodan so oyat ko
zayig namen a pamzotan so ovok
oya na niekek niyahad no ovay
katenngan na o pimanaziyaz na
kavonas so ipapareng no inapo
no mabedeh a mivagyozong so lila.”

Hugu shared the following explanation about the song:

“I’ve sung an ancient tune called “anood” of Pongso no Tao. It’s a tune like the waves coming to the beach as taught by our elders. I’m doing a “miyanoanood kano mangononong” which is our old style of singing with storytelling. For a brief background, let me tell you the sad story that has made us strong and resilient.

The lyrics are about accusing the provincial government, which tore down 566 traditional eco-houses in six tribal communities on our small island and replaced them with a social housing project of very bad quality and wrong design for us. This destroyed the living space and cultural place of Tao people totally. It’s a serious cultural disaster along with the ecological disaster of clear-cut 1,400 hectares of our primary forest for timber stand improvement for economic purposes by the Forestry Bureau with subsidies from UN FAO; and the environmental disaster of the nuclear waste dumping of 100,000 plus steel drums by Taiwan Power Company; all around the same period of 1970s to 1980s under the same colonial government.

But that’s why the six tribal communities on the small island built up the solidarity alliance as one Tao people and started our campaign for self-determination from the mid-1980s on.

Onotan do voko no sawalan nio. (Follow the flow of your irrigation channel!) ayoy!”

Santos Santiago is a musician, composer and singer who has written several songs in the Mayan language. He has made a fusion of various musical genres to create his own unique style, sometimes referred to as “Mayan reggae”. This video was shared during the social-cultural exchange by Sharon Renee from U Yich Lu’um (ICCA Consortium Member and host of the regional coordination team for Mesoamerica).

Thank you again to everyone from our membership who joined the solidarity exchange on 29 June. You can view most of these videos again on our YouTube playlist. Special thanks to the interpreters who helped us understand and communicate with each other during the exchange: Barry Aboubacar Alpha, Josselin Musaada, Daniela Cabascango, Lucía Frías, Suzanne Rameix. We look forward to more celebrations like this!