Board & Staff

Although we are a recently established  foundation, we have decades of experience and a broad international network with a broad range of stakeholders.

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Founder & CEO

SONIA DUIN

I am originally from Santarém, a city in the Brazilian Amazonian region, I have witnessed the impact of environmental changes occurring in the region over the past decades. Professionally my first ethnographic field research in the late 1990s to the Tikuna of Umariaçu- Tabatinga inspired a lifelong passion to understand indigenous peoples’ culture.

My anthropology training was centered on the interdisciplinary holistic subfields of socio-cultural anthropology, linguistic anthropology, biological anthropology and archaeology. My research addresses Indigenous Knowledge Production contribution to western science knowledge production regarding sustainability, forest resources conservation, and biodiversity. The academic training of a Master’s degree and PhD training in Anthropology combined with my ethnographic fieldwork experience provided the necessary skills in order to comprehend that in Amazonia the Indigenous perspectives and practices are interwoven and that indigenous peoples are crucial for conservation practices. My fieldwork experience combined with the academic training has provided not only skills but also a path and inspiration to envision and establish the AMIK organization. 

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Founder & Executive Secretary

NAYA PESSOA

Being both a human rights activist and philanthropist is what drives me. 

 

My academic interest in human rights culminated in 2011 with the conferral of a Juris Doctorate from New England Law Boston. As a law student and with a strong multicultural and multilingual background, I advocated for indigent clients as an Americorps Fellow working on the Immigration Rights Project. On an international scale, I advocated for fair trial processes as an International Criminal Process Clinic fellow at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in The Hague. Before my legal studies, I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and Political Science (cum laude) from the University of Florida. 

Ultimately it was the combination of a strong academic foundation with extensive work and volunteer experiences that have led me to be a strong proponent of indigenous rights and proud founding member of AMIK.

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Founder & Project Director

RENZO DUIN

Many (hi)stories are told from a single perspective. As an anthropologist and archaeologist I am driven to search for the stories and perspectives (past and present) that did not make it into the history books.

While conducting fieldwork in Guiana (French Guiana, Guyana, and Suriname), various Indigenous Peoples proposed me to visit places of their ancestors. According to botanists and ecologists, these very same areas are considered ‘pristine forest’. For example, the Wayana Indigenous People proposed me to visit the place on the border with Brazil where the Wayana Nation was born, and with the Wapichan nao of South Guyana I visited isolated mountains in the South Rupununi where according to oral history the First People settled after the Great Flood. Rather than an untouched wilderness, these very sites contained signs of past human occupation: fragments of pottery (‘clay pots’) and stone tools, grinding grooves, rock art and rock alignments, ditches and other landscape modifications, ‘bush islands’ and feral plants. This convinced me that, instead of being a natural pristine forest, the forests and savannahs of Guiana are in nature domesticated landscapes.

The combination of archaeology and anthropology is fundamental in the historical ecology approach aiming to understand the historical development of the Amazon rainforest. I graduated with a PhD (cum laude) from the University of Florida in the holistic four-field Anthropology approach (socio-cultural anthropology, linguistic anthropology, biological or physical anthropology and archaeology).

The combination of a strong academic foundation with extensive experiences in the field has led me to be a strong proponent of indigenous history (past and present) and proud founding member of AMIK.

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