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Google's High Tech Help for Amazon Tribe

Boot Camp feature for Monday, July 7, 2008

High tech help for a tribe in the Amazon. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. The Surui tribe....like others in the Brazilian Amazon....has been battling the illegal logging and deforestation...of their land. A year ago, the tribe's chief, Almir Surui, traveled to Google's campus in Mountain View, California...seeking help. Last month, Google Earth Outreach Program manager Rebecca Moore spent several weeks in the Amazon...and plans are underway to help the Surui educate the world about their culture and their plight...

"We spent a year in discussions with Chief Almir about what they needed. And then the more we spoke with them, we realized they wanted to get on the Internet in general. Because they want to make videos, for example, of the elders speaking about the history before first contact, what happened at contact. Because they are very much in danger of losing their own knowledge of their own traditions and culture. So they wanted us to teach the young people how to use video, capture and interview their history. They want to have a daily blog so that let's say there's an illegal logging truck entering their land, they could take a photograph or a video of it, put it on their blog, everyone around the world would see."

While technology may seem to be in conflict with efforts to preserve the indigenous culture, the tribe sees it as a tool that can help protect its future. You can find more information at earth.google.com/outreach. You can hear more of the interview with Rebecca Moore at BootCamp.com. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.