Indigenous Film Index: Asia

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Adivasi


Adivasis is the collective name used for the many Indigenous peoples of India. The term Adivasi derives from the Hindi word ‘adi’ which means of earliest times or from the beginning and ‘vasi’ meaning inhabitant or resident. The term was coined in the 1930s, largely a consequence of a political movement to forge a sense of identity among the various Indigenous peoples of India. Officially Adivasis are termed scheduled tribes, but this is a legal and term, which differs from state to state and area to area, and therefore excludes some groups who might be considered indigenous.

films


Running Out of Time (2006)

Running Out of Time
Abhijay Karleka


Yindabad (2007)

Yindabad
Mariano Agudo, Roi Guitián

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Akha


The Akha are an ethnic group who live in small villages at higher elevations in the mountains of Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, North East India and Yunnan Province in China. In all these countries they are an ethnic minority. Called “Avkavdawv,” meaning “Akha language,” by its native speakers, Akha is a tonal language in the Lolo/Yi branch of the Sino-Tibetan family. The vast majority of Akha speakers can understand the jeu g’oe (“jer way”) dialect spoken in southern China, Thailand, and Myanmar. They are one of the region’s “Hill Tribes.”

films


The Akha Way (1999)

The Akha Way
Sharon Hainsfurther

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Ata Tana 'ai


The Ata Tana ‘Ai are a branch of the Sikkanese peoples of eastern Flores. The ethnonym “Ata Tana “Ai” means “People of the Forest Land,” an appellation used both by the Ata Tana ‘Ai themselves and by other people of eastern and east central Flores. Their language Sara Tana ‘Ai is a dialect of Sara Sikka, an Austronesian language that Wurm and Hattori (1983) include in the Flores-Lembata (Lomblen) Subgroup, Timor Area Group of the Austronesian languages of the Lesser Sunda Islands and Timor.

films


A Celebration of Origins (1992)

A Celebration of Origins
E. Douglas Lewis, Patsy Asch, Timothy Asch

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Bharvad


The Bharvad are an Indigenous community of cattle keepers. In this film also appear the indigenous people of the Rabari tribe who raise camels and sheep and goats. This indigenous group live in the region of Jhalavad and Kutch in the region of Saurastra which is part of the Western province of Gujarat in Western India. They continue the traditions of animal husbandry but have also taken on the occupations of farming and transporters of rural goods to the urban market towns.

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films


Bharvad Predicament (1983)

The Bharvad Predicament
Jayasinhji Jhala, Roger Sandall

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Bunong (Phnong)


The Bunong are an Indigenous group who live in the highlands of Cambodia, usually in Mondulkiri Province. They tend to be culturally distinct from the Khmer (the majority group in Cambodia) although this cultural distinction is decreasing over time due to various factors. Bunong language (sometimes spelled ‘Mnong’) is the native language of the Bunong people. It is a member of Bahnaric branch of Austroasiatic languages and is distantly related to Khmer and other Khmer Loeu languages (excluding Jarai and Rade which are Austronesian languages closely related to Cham).

films


Bunong's Birth Practices (Bunong Guu Oh) (2010)

Bunong’s Birth Practices
Tommi Mendel, Brigitte Nikles

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Buryats


The Buryats one of the two largest Indigenous groups in Siberia, the other being the Yakuts. The majority of the Buryat population lives in their titular homeland, the Republic of Buryatia, a federal subject of Russia near Lake Baikal. Buryats also live in Ust-Orda Buryat Okrug (Irkutsk Oblast) to the west of Buryatia and Agin-Buryat Okrug (Zabaykalsky Krai) to the east of Buryatia as well as in northeastern Mongolia and in Inner Mongolia, China. Their language, also called Burya, is a Mongolic variety spoken by the Buryats that is either classified as a language or as a major dialect group of Mongolian.

films

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Chhara


Historically, Chharas comprised a group of nomadic people in India.  When the British attempted to maintain the colonial regime in India, they utilized theories of crime being hereditary to undermine these nomadic communities as criminal. The formerly nomadic Chharas are known by other names throughout the country, including Sansis, Kanjar, Kanjarbhat, and Adodiyas.

films


Acting Like a Thief (2005)

Acting like a Thief
P. Kerim Friedman

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Dayak


The Dayak are an Indigenous group from Borneo. It is a loose term for over 200 riverine and hill-dwelling ethnic groups, located principally in the central and southern interior of Borneo, each with its own dialect, customs, laws, territory, and culture. Dayak languages are categorized as part of the Austronesian languages. The term “Dayak”, a local Malay word (“daya”, “daya'” or “dayuh”) equivalent to “savages”, started out as a derogatory term used by coastal-dwelling Malays that were adopted by the European colonial administrations as a general term referring to all non-Muslims tribes in the interior.

films


A Trial in East Kalimantan: The Benoaq Dayak Resistance (2000)

Trial in East Kalimantan
Karma Foley, Sandeep Ray

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Highland Thai people


The Indigenous highland people of Thailand live in the mountainous areas of northern and western Thailand. As many as 20 different Indigenous communities, referred to the government as ‘hill tribes’, totaling 1 million people according to some estimates, live in Thailand and include, among the more numerous, Akha, Karen, Lahu, Lisu, Meo (Hmong) and Mien. They are all distinct cultural and linguistic groups: some have been established in this part of Thailand for centuries and live at lower altitudes (like Karen), while others (such as Hmong and Akha) are newer arrivals, having arrived from Burma, China and Laos from about the nineteenth century.

films


A Right to Belong (2002)
A Right to Belong
David A. Feingold

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Hyolmo (Yolmopa)


Hyolmo is one of the 59 Indigenous peoples recognized by Nepal government, residing in the Helambu region. They refer to themselves as Yolmopa or Hyolmo. The term Hyolmo is made up of two words—‘Hyol’, which means a place or area which surrounded by majestic mountains and ‘Mo’ means a goddess. The Hyolmo language shares high lexical similarities with Sherpa and Tibetan. It is traditionally transcribed in the Sambhoti (Tibetan) script, but many modern academics use the Devanagari script as well.

films


Himalayan Herders (1997)

Himalayan Herders
John Bishop, Naomi Bishop

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Lumad


The Lumad are a group of Austronesian Indigenous people in the southern Philippines. It is a Cebuano term meaning “native” or “indigenous”. The term is short for Katawhang Lumad (Literally: “indigenous people”). The Southern island of the Philippines is home to a substantial part of the country’s Indigenous population, estimating to about 15% of the Philippine’s total population of 100 million.

films

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Madari (Rajasthani)


Madari are a nomadic tribe, popularly known as snake-charmers. Their tribal designation is that of a Denotified Tribe.

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films


The Snake Charmer (2004)
The Snake Charmer
Alex M. Goldblum

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Moken


The Moken are an Austronesian people of the Mergui Archipelago, a group of approximately 800 islands claimed by both Myanmar and Thailand. Most of the 2,000 to 3,000 Moken live a semi-nomadic hunter-gatherer lifestyle heavily based on the sea, though this is increasingly under threat. Attempts by both Myanmar and Thailand to assimilate the Moken into the wider regional culture have met with very limited success. However, the Moken face an uncertain future as their population decreases and their nomadic lifestyle and unsettled legal status leave them marginalized by modern property and immigration laws, maritime conservation and development programs, and tightening border policies. 

films

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Nenets


The Nenets also known as Samoyed, are a Samoyedic ethnic group native to northern arctic Russia, Russian Far North. The literal morphs samo and yed in Russian convey the meaning “self-eater”, which is considered derogatory. Therefore, the name Samoyed quickly went out of usage in the 20th century. The people are known as the Nenets, which means “people”. The Nenets language is on the Samoyedic branch of the Uralic language family, with two major dialects, Forest Nenets and Tundra Nenets.

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films


The Brigade (2000)

The Brigade
Liivo Niglas


Yuri Vella's World (2003)

Yuri Vella’s World
Liivo Niglas

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Rabari (Desai)


The Rabari, also Desai, are an Indigenous tribal caste of nomadic cattle and camel herders and shepherds that live throughout northwest India, primarily in the states of Gujarat, Punjab and Rajasthan. Other Rabari groups also live in Pakistan, especially in the region of the Sindh Desert. The word “Rabari” translates as “outsiders”.

films


Bharvad Predicament (1983)

The Bharvad Predicament
Jayasinhji Jhala, Roger Sandall


Speaking Tree (2008)

Speaking Tree
Natasha de Betak

 

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Roti


The Rotinese have long taken their name from some version of their Indonesian island’s name and combined this with a dialect word for “man” (Atahori Rote, Hataholi Lote). The principal name for Roti in ritual language is “Lote do Kale,” and the expression for “man” is Hataholi do Dae Hena. The Rotinese insist that Rote or Roti is a Portuguese imposition.

films


Water of Words (1983)

The Water of Words
Patsy Asch, Timothy Asch, James Fox

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Tou Sumba


There are ten different languages on Sumba, all of them Austronesian languages.  The two films in our catalog were both made in the Kodi region of West Sumba, and the language spoken there is called Kodi.  In Kodi, a reference to all the people of the island of Sumba would be Tou Sumba

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films


Horses of Life and Death

Horses of Life and Death
Janet Hoskins, Susan Hoskins
Laura Scheerer Whitney


The Feast in Dream Village (1988)

The Feast in Dream Village
Janet Hoskins, Laura Scheerer Whitney

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Tibetan


The Tibetan people are Indigenous to Tibet and surrounding areas stretching from Central Asia in the North and West to Myanmar and China Proper in the East. The Tibetic languages (Tibetan: བོད་སྐད།) are a cluster of mutually unintelligible Sino-Tibetan languages spoken by approximately 8 million people, primarily Tibetan, living across a wide area of East and South Asia, including the Tibetan Plateau and Baltistan, Ladakh, Nepal, Sikkim, and Bhutan.

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films


Bön: Mustang to Menri (2011)

Bön: Mustang to Menri
Tad Fettig, Rose Gordon, Andrea Heckman


Fate of the Lhapa (2007)

Fate of the Lhapa
Sarah Sifers


Summer Pasture (2010)

Summer Pasture
Tsering Perlo, Lynn True, Nelson Walker


Valley of the Heroes (2013)

Valley of the Heroes
Khashem Gyal

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Yup'ik


Yup’iks are people who reside along the coast of the Chukchi Peninsula in the far northeast of the Russian Federation and on St. Lawrence Island in Alaska. They speak Central Siberian Yupik (also known as Yuit), a Yupik language of the Eskimo–Aleut family of languages. Their self-designation is Yupighyt (йупигыт) meaning “true people”.

films


Time When Dreams Melt (1996)

Time When Dreams Melt
Alexsei Vakhrushev

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