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Mentawai Project: The Uma Project

The uma is a traditional Mentawai communal house, the place where the entire clan joins together to celebrate life’s major events. It is the training ground where young shaman apprentices are taught to live in harmony with the rainforest and later initiated into the way of the sikeirei. It is a spiritual refuge where the living can pray and commune with their ancestors. In short, umas are the cornerstones of traditional Mentawai culture, which is disappearing as they do.

In an effort to subdue the Mentawai and assimilate their culture, the government has been sponsoring a major re-location program for the past three decades. These forced changes, including abandonment of the umas, are destroying the Mentawai social structure and clan ties and threatening their culture, environment, ecosystem and health. The Uma Project supports those who wish to preserve their culture and traditions by helping them protect and maintain existing umas as well as by building new ones to help traditional clans move back to their ancestral lands. Read more about the Uma Project »

PHOTOS: UMA PROJECT

Mentawai Cultural Preservation: Building Uma communal houses

The construction of our first uma is well underway and this traditional clan will soon be able to move back to the land of its ancestors.

CULTURAL TOURISM PROJECT

Protect the Mentawai Culture and help the Mentawai People empower themselves

Native Planet's project, the Mentawai Cultural Ecotourism Association is a key to Mentawai cultural preservation and self-empowerment.

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