Distributor:  Global Environmental Justice
Length:  8 minutes
Date:  2021
Genre:  Expository
Language:  Indonesian; English / English subtitles
Color/BW:  Color
Closed captioning available


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

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Homecoming: Indigenous youth return to the land

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* New title added January 2023 *

If Not Us Then Who?  Film 4 of 7 

Indonesian Indigenous youth, aware of global warming and concerned about the future, return from the cities to their villages with plans for reforestation, organic farming and cultural revival.

Homecoming: Indigenous youth return to the land

If Not Us Then Who? Film 4 of 7 (8:20) 2021
Homecoming: Indonesian Indigenous Youth Return to the Community

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.

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

"The task of Indigenous youth is to identify the potential that exists in our Indigenous territories."

Many of the Indigenous youth in Indonesia have left their communities to study in the cities. Yet after their studies they have chosen to remain there rather than return home to their traditional lives. But the threat to their communities posed by deforestation, pollution, and land grabbing is giving rise to a homecoming movement. Their concern is that if the youth do not protect and manage their territories, who will?

As they return, they are bringing with them plans to use the land for herbal gardens and organic farming. As a result, land that had lain dormant could now be farmed in a new way. At the same time, their communities are exploring ecotourism, coffee plantations, keeping sheep, and replanting damaged forests with new seedlings. This new generation is aware of global warming and the harm it poses to their way of life and future generations, and they recognize how important it is to protect their territories and the planet.


Other titles in the If Not Us Then Who? Collection:
4. Homecoming: Indonesian Indigenous Youth Return

Download the Teacher's Guide


00:00:20.320 --> 00:00:22.760
One of the ladies last night who sat with us

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we asked her questions, what is the secret of happiness?

00:00:26.960 --> 00:00:30.800
She said the secret of happiness is togetherness.

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Everything you do together - you eat together,
you drink together

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you talk together, and face to face

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not hiding things behind.

00:00:46.480 --> 00:00:49.080
Actually, indigenous youth,

00:00:49.080 --> 00:00:52.920
they went from the community to study in the cities

00:00:52.920 --> 00:00:56.600
and after the studies, they stay in the cities.

00:01:06.320 --> 00:01:09.640
My name is Indra Piri

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from the Ro'ong Ampreng Community.

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I am 33 years old.

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If we live in a city, it's hot, traffic jams.

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Add pollution.

00:01:35.160 --> 00:01:39.600
In the city the needs are not met.

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You’re half dead.

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That's why we prefer to go home.

00:02:06.560 --> 00:02:11.680
You can eat healthy, nutritious food.

00:02:14.720 --> 00:02:19.720
This is my garden which I am working on

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and currently I am growing tomatoes
with my mother and father.

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What I feel when I finish cultivating
the garden at harvest time...

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What I feel is uh, happy, happy

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because I enjoy the results of my own sweat.

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For me, the land is the source of life.

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The mother.

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Indigenous peoples have a big concern about,
what can we do as the youth

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to help protecting and managing our territories.

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Because land grabbing happens everywhere and the environment is already damaged.

00:03:16.880 --> 00:03:21.440
Everywhere in Indonesia oil palm plantations
already damage our territories.

00:03:21.440 --> 00:03:23.920
So they were thinking the only thing we can do is

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we should start a homecoming movement.

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We should call all our colleagues

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our indigenous youth who are in the cities

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who are students and finished their school already

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to return back to their communities.

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And they were thinking, if not us,
who will protect our territories?

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Who will manage our territories?

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The task of indigenous youth is to identify the potential

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that exists in our indigenous territories.

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At the beginning the elders, when the youth came to them,

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and asked permission to use the land

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for herbal gardens or organic farming

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the elders were like, are you serious?
You want to do this?

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But the youth said, please trust us, we can do this.

00:04:27.440 --> 00:04:31.760
And they started, and they gave evidence to the elders.

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And the elders, when they saw it, they were like, wow!

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This land that we didn’t use before, now it’s become

00:04:38.440 --> 00:04:40.520
huge organic farming

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and it’s really bringing excitement
and happiness in the community.

00:04:48.080 --> 00:04:52.600
In addition to developing ecotourism and coffee plantations

00:04:52.600 --> 00:04:55.840
indigenous youth have initiated

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1,000 sheep pens in each community garden

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one million ginger and one million galangal.

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We are targeting 150,000 seedlings in the next three years

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to be planted in our forests.

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We are in the climate emergency right now

00:05:25.120 --> 00:05:31.200
and what the indigenous youth do by this
homecoming movement initiative

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is set an example of real action.

00:05:46.800 --> 00:05:52.760
Every time we have photos sent by the youth
from the community, saying that

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oh today, you know, we are harvesting

00:05:55.400 --> 00:06:00.920
and they send us photos of the tomatoes,
the onions, and everything

00:06:00.920 --> 00:06:03.960
huge, and they’re ready for market.

00:06:03.960 --> 00:06:07.560
We’re so happy. I’m so happy, really, seriously

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I feel like...

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this is a real thing.

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That is the problem when we are living in the cities -

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sometimes when we do our work

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sometimes it feels like it’s endless work

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that we don’t really know what is real about this.

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But when we see this...

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real things on the ground...

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we can feel it, we can touch, we can see.

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It makes you really excited and
I feel so excited about this and

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I feel hope.

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If more and more indigenous youth
do the same things like this

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I think we can save our planet.

00:06:48.840 --> 00:06:51.760

00:07:38.080 --> 00:07:41.760
Indigenous Youth, Rise Up, Unite
and Manage our territories!


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

Redman, Paul (film director)
Wuisan, Kalfein (film director)

Other credits

Edited by Lincoln Athas.

Distributor credits

Tim Lewis

Paul Redman, Kalfein Wuisan

Docuseek subjects

Indigenous Studies
Youth Issues
Sustainable Architecture
Forests and Rainforests
Cultural Anthropology
Climate Change
Conservation and Protection

Distributor subjects

No distributor subjects provided.


Film 4 Homecoming,Ro'ong Ampreng, organic gardening,agriculture,youth,tradition; "Homecoming"; Indonesia; Indigenous Studies; Youth Issues; Sustainable Architecture; Forests and Rainforests; Forestry; Ethnography; Cultural Anthropology; Sustainability; Pollution; Climate Change; Conservation and Protection;

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