Distributor:  Global Environmental Justice
Length:  12 minutes
Date:  2021
Genre:  Expository
Language:  Indonesian; English / English subtitles
Color/BW:  Color


Curator imageLaura Miller, Applied ethicist and instructor, Southwestern Illinois College, St. Louis Community College, Fontbonne University, and Webster University

You might also be interested in...

Building a Longhouse as a Cultural Center

New to the Global Environmental Justice Project? Please register and login to preview and/or license this film. If your institution has already licensed this film, you will need to access this page from your institution's network to watch the film. For help on using the Docuseek2 platform, please visit our help wiki.

* New title added January 2023 *

If Not Us Then Who?  Film 2 of 7 
Kynan Tegar, a young Indigenous filmmaker, documents a cultural revival and the consruction of a traditional longhouse for the first time in 50 years.

Building a Longhouse as a Cultural Center

If Not Us Then Who? Film 2 (11:40) 2021
Building a Traditional Longhouse as a Cultural Center
This is one of seven short films about sustainable living in the forests of Indonesia, Costa Rica and Brazil. Taken together, they tell a story of oppression, resistance, accomplishments, and confidence for the future.


Laura Miller
Applied ethicist and instructor, Southwestern Illinois College, St. Louis Community College, Fontbonne University, and Webster University

Please download the teacher's guide for maps, background information, suggested subjects, questions and activities.

"Now and forever, our cultures and traditions will continue."

For the first time in 50 years, the Sungai Utik build a traditional longhouse, their customary home and cultural house. It is the longhouse, given to them by their god Petara, that allows for harmony and secures the unity of their people. This is where they gather, share their knowledge, attend school, prepare food, and live together as a community. The act of building a longhouse is also a community effort, with all persons contributing to building the structure. This process is shared by the elders and taught to the younger generations. Building a longhouse, though, is not merely an act of building a home, it is a spiritual act of ritual and preservation of the traditional ways of the elders. Longhouses, then, are a living demonstration of the culture of these people and a continuation of the traditions, practices, and rituals that are the foundation of their culture. Note that this film is directed by a young filmmaker from the community, Kynan Tegar, who pays particular attention to his elders and to the ceremony that accompanies the dedication of the longhouse.


The teaching guide was created with the intention of exploring the lived experiences of Indigenous peoples in the Global South. These experiences demonstrate the resilience of the people born in these locations and their struggle to maintain the connections to their ancestors through their cultural practices, rituals, and defiance. I consider this to be a legacy project in which the contributors are seeking to honor the lives of their elders and those who have come before them. As an educator, I cannot replace seeing the faces, places, and lived experiences through the eyes of another. No matter how graphic a text depiction might be, the essence of experience conveyed through film is far more powerful. I encourage you to embrace this ethnographic approach to cultural anthropology and to embrace the narratives of peoples who have overcome modernization and threats from commercial interests and other harms, and who have found unexpected alliances and opportunities to thrive.


Other titles in the If Not Us Then Who? Collection:

Download the Teacher's Guide


No transcript available.


If Not Us Then Who?
Reviews by Isadora Lambert for Video Librarian 21 April 2023

The seven short films collected in If Not Us Then Who? chronicle sustainable practices in the forests of Indonesia, Costa Rica, and Brazil. While many environmental documentaries focus on the devastation humankind inflicts upon the world, these seven films demonstrate resilience and hope for the future.

Part One: Indonesia

Sungai Utik: The fight for recognition (21 min)

The first film in “If Not Us Then Who?” is Sungai Utik: The fight for recognition. At 21 minutes, this is the longest film in the collection. Sungai Utik profiles a Dayak community that follows sustainable practices passed down by their ancestors to protect forest lands. While outsiders see the financial gain in exploiting the forest’s resources, the Sungai Utik take only the resources they need and repay the earth for what they take by planting new trees. The film follows their quest to receive legal protection and fair treatment from the government.

Building a Longhouse as a Cultural Center (12 min)

The second film in the collection follows the Sungai Utik people as they build a traditional longhouse for the first time in fifty years. This building acts a cultural center where the community can gather, attend school, make food, and live together. The indigenous filmmaker of Building a Longhouse as a Cultural Center emphasizes the community effort that makes this construction possible and pays particular attention to the elders in the community.

The Dyak Iban Way of Farming (13 min)

This documentary short discusses traditional Dayak Iban farming methods. Their process involves rotating farmlands and utilizing carefully controlled burning. Although this is a traditional technique, the government has deemed controlled burning illegal due to pollution and forest fires. However, the true environmental damage is caused by massive palm oil plantations. The Dyak Iban Way of Farming demonstrates the cultural and ecological value of maintaining traditional practices.

Homecoming: Indigenous youth return to the land (8 min)

Homecoming: Indigenous youth return to the land focuses on Indigenous youth and how crucial this generation is to environmental activism. While many youths choose to leave their communities to study and work in cities, this documentary examines those who choose to return in order to help their communities by integrating tradition with sustainable planning.

Part Two: Costa Rica/ Brazil

A Sustainable Solution: Environmental tax to maintain forests in Costa Rica (7 min)

This documentary short highlights the impact Indigenous people have made in reducing logging in Costa Rica. A government program called Payment for Environmental Services supports sustainable practices and motivates communities. A Sustainable Solution proves that government intervention can have a positive impact on the environment.

Brazil's Warrior Women: Women’s movement wins access to babassu oil (8 min)

In Brazil, 400,000 women harvest nuts from the babassu palm in order to maintain a living. However, some ranchers and farmers pose a threat to these women, threatening to physically ban the women from the fields. Brazil's Warrior Women follows the passing of a law that allows these women to remain in the fields and provide for their families.


A Tribute to Dona Dije, Babassu Woman Warrior: An interview with the leader of the babassu movement (4 min)

A Tribute to Dona Dijé, Babassu Woman Warrior pays special tribute to Dona Dijé, a central organizer of the Babassu movement. In this interview, she reflects on how the movement has impacted both the protection of women as well as the Amazon.

These seven documentary films are unique in their emphasis on how Indigenous communities influence environmental conservation. “If Not Us Then Who?” champions perspectives that are often not shown on screen. These inspiring stories would be welcome in both high school and college classrooms.

What academic subjects would this film be suitable for?

This film would be suitable for students and library patrons interested in environmental studies, public policy, political science, and global studies.

How does this film contribute to a discussion of environmental or climate justice, and/or to environmental literacy? 

If Not Us Then Who? contributes to discussions of climate justice by demonstrating solutions for environmental issues, and prioritizing indigenous voices.

What type of library programming could use this title?

These short films would be perfect for library programming events focused on sustainable solutions for the future.


Main credits

Tegar, Kynan (filmmaker)

Distributor credits

Tim Lewis

Kynan Tegar

Docuseek subjects

Indigenous Studies
Forests and Rainforests
Conservation and Protection
Environmental Law
Cultural Anthropology
Government Policy
Global / International Studies

Distributor subjects

Indonesia,Indigenous Rights,Deforestation,Logging,Sustainability,Conservation Law,Biodiversity,Cultural Ethnography,Government,United Nations,


Longhouse,cultural revival,Indigenous,land rights,Indonesia,Sungai Utik,Kynan Tegar,Paul Redman,policy,recognition,United Nations Equator Prize,poverty,sustainable forestry,palm oil,longhouse,Sungai Utik,Dayak Iban,Dayaks,Borneo,Indonesia,Embaloh people,Bumi Raya Limited,Lanjak Entimau Limited,Apheng,NGOs,Kampung Galau,reserve forest,Kampung Taroh protected forest,Kampung,Endor Kerja production forest,,Kalpataru Award,Equator Prize,from the United Nations,Development Programme,hutan adat (customary forest),Ministry of Environment and,Forestry of Indonesia,; "Building a Longhouse as a Cultural Center ";

Welcome to Docuseek2!

Docuseek2 is a streaming platform of the best documentary and social issue films available for the higher education community.

Anyone may search for titles and find detailed information about the titles. To preview films or license them for streaming, you must register and login.

Currently, we support online registration for anyone affiliated with a higher education institution. Please inquire if you are with a K-12 district or school or with a public library.

Click the Close button to get started!