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North East

US Embassy launches wesbite to document Arunachal Pradesh’s tribes

brian heath

New Delhi, September 27: The United States Mission in India joined representatives from the Ministry of Tourism’s Northeast Regional Office and UNESCO’s International Information and Network for Intangible Cultural Heritage in the Asia-Pacific (ICHCAP) at an event to celebrate the intangible cultural heritage of the indigenous tribes of Arunachal Pradesh through the launch of a new website, www.arunachallivingheritage.com.  The event also included films, performances, exhibitions, and demonstrations showcasing traditional Arunachal Pradesh culture.

In December 2021, the United States launched a program through the Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation to work with tribe members from 39 villages across the state to preserve and document their heritage through a series of short documentary films.  One of these films, The Living Heritage of Arunachal: Beauty in Diversity, premiered during the event. 

In remarks delivered at the event, U.S. Acting Deputy Chief of Mission Brian Heath said, “as the United States and India celebrate 75 years of diplomatic relations, it’s important also to highlight the wealth of stories and experiences that come together to make our societies what they are today.  The United States is proud to support Arunachal Pradesh’s culture, ensuring preservation of its intangible heritage.”

ICHCAP Director General Jisung Kim commented, “Safeguarding the cultural heritage of the communities is an essential and necessary requirement for sustainable development.  In addition, documentation and video recording are becoming important as a means of education for future generations along with the development of technology. Through film, we can remember and preserve the lives and voices of our ancestors much better.”

This event took place as part of a series of Azadi Ki Amrit Mahotsav (India75) and U.S.-India 75th anniversary celebrations organized by Kolkata-based nonprofit Contact Base, in partnership with the Northeast Regional Office of the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India.  Local field research was made possible by the Arunachal Pradesh Department of Tourism.

Contact Base representative Ananya Bhattacharya highlighted the ecological importance of the program, stating that responsible tourism and technology provide wonderful opportunities to learn about carbon-free lifestyles, engage with the tradition bearers who are indeed teachers of sustainability and in the process instil a sense of pride in the local communities with the encouragement to continue to transmit their intangible cultural heritage.

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