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What might you wonder if you found a species of plant now struggling to survive in the exact same location it had flourished in for thousands of years – even after being provided a variety of enhancements to help it grow? …‘What is it that has suddenly caused this change?’ perhaps.

Over the past six years I’ve been researching and documenting the comparative behaviours and attitudes between resettled and non-resettled indigenous Mentawai peoples. This arising after identifying a profound and disturbing contrast between those who’ve maintained cultural belief and practice and those now detached from it – citing a notable shift from wealth to poverty.

Teaming up with local members of the community whom I found active in their ideas or initiatives to help prevent this demise, we gathered and analyzed research, established findings, and over the years designed and developed steps for implementing a preventative solution: the Suku Mentawai ‘Cultural and Environmental Education Program’ (CEEP).

In need then of a means to facilitate the CEEP’s implementation evolved the Indigenous Education Foundation (IEF). Which, beginning with Suku Mentawai, is aimed at supporting the development of a series of programs tailored to suit the specific wants and needs of indigenous communities around the world who are suffering the ruinous impacts of displacement.

Committed to keeping each solution local we also established a Foundation in Indonesia to implement and operate the Suku Mentawai program through. The native Mentawai engaged during the research period, who initiated and will subsequently manage the CEEP at a community level, are head of this Yayasan.

So here, now, finally, after many years, it is with a great deal of excitement that I present all of this to you. For IEF visit For Suku Mentawai, which is available in either English or Bahasa Indonesian language, visit (or just click through from one of various links on the IEF site).

The plight of indigenous people and their displacement from native lands, customs and education is perhaps the most controversial issue of the past century and the repercussions continue to haunt the world today. Yet despite all the attention, an effective solution has not been found.

This is not to say that what I present here is the almighty savior and immediate answer to all these problems. Not at all. In fact if the road thus far is anything to go by I’m quite certain a great many more years of challenges, revelations and developments are in store before ever even entertaining the mere possibility of such a thought.

What I do believe though is that this unique opportunity we have to build upon, founded through the incredible access and insight given by the indigenous Mentawai community, is real. This is their voice. Their solutions. If it’s not wanted then it doesn’t go ahead. If it doesn’t work then we learn and move to the next. This is their responsibility and they must take ownership – the opposition to displacement. And this, in my view, is the basis for a solution worth supporting.

Please read, comment, support, share and explore the many ways you too can become involved in helping turn these community goals into reality. Thanks again to all those who’ve given their support throughout and continue to do so. None of this is possible without you. Masurak bagatta.

Ps. I haven’t forgotten about the film. I hope to have more time now to work on securing a team and pursuing funding and distribution options to complete and release. Appreciate your patience.


© Copyright Roebeeh Productions 2017
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