Indigenous People's Cultural Support Trust works with Indian tribal people in Brazil. Our projects are concentrated in the catchments of the Xingu and Araguaia rivers, in the States of Mato Grosso and Pará. We are based in England, and the charity is registered with the Charity Commission for England and Wales, registration number 1050461.

Xicrin childrenFor more information about our activities, projects and public information initiatives please go to www.tribesalive.org

IPCST has no employees. The trustees act as executive and field representatives, and fulfil the other necessary functions of the charity.

IPCST has been outstandingly successful in ensuring that funds raised are used for the projects for which they are intended. The charity is small and has low overheads, so money raised is applied directly to specific projects.




Tribal groups need our help to re-establish a sustainable way of life which incorporates some aspects of the outside world. IPCST exists to give that help. Its objectives include:

Group of Indian tribesmen in a ceremonial dance
  • Support for traditional knowledge by endorsing its value and ensuring that it is retained and strengthened
  • Provision of appropriate and useful technology, together with training in its use and maintenance
  • Construction of buildings and support infrastructure to enable communities to make full use of the equipment we provide
  • Promotion of indigenous cultures through activities which celebrate traditional values and demonstrate the strength and validity of alternative ways of interacting with the world environment
  • Help in resisting threats to the integrity and viability of indigenous land, and in regaining the right to occupy land which has been taken away
  • Technical help in regenerating the historic ecology of land which has been damaged by occupation by non-indigenous people.


Nurse giving vaccine to a babyIPCST projects include:

Education and Training
Informing the wider society about tribal life
Developing trading structures
Protection of indigenous lands

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The trust was founded in 1995 by Emily Burridge "To aid in the promotion and conservation of Indigenous people’s culture and traditional knowledge."

Chief Francisco Pronhopa with four boysEmily’s interest in indigenous people was inspired by her research into the foundations of music she discovered in Brazil. Her research brought her more and more into contact with indigenous people, recording tribal singing and rituals. While she was visiting the Sangradouro Indigenous Reserve at the invitation of Chief Francisco Pronhopa, the community asked her to help them to build a health centre. As a result, Emily spent the next four years working with the people of the village to realise the Marimbú Health Centre project.

From the beginning, IPCST was fortunate to have Professor Sir Ghillean Prance, Science Director of the Eden Project and ex-Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew as its patron. Professor Prance has offered his advice and support to the trustees on many occasions.

In 2006, Patrick and Sue Cunningham joined IPCST as trustees. They brought with them a wealth of knowledge about Brazilian indigenous people.

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Emily Burridge

Emily is a professional cellist, composer and producer. She was awarded a scholarship to Wells Cathedral school, going on to win a scholarship at the Royal College of Music in London. She later diversified her music and became actively involved in rock and popular music productions. Emily has played on numerous albums and film soundtracks as a featured artist and playing within string sections.

Xavante man with bow and arrowIn 1990 she set up a studio and started composing and producing her own recordings. Her first commission was to write music to accompany readings of the book "Sacred Elephant" by Heathcote Williams. Readings were given by the author and the production was adopted by the actress Virginia McKenna. Emily accompanied, playing the 'cello and synthesizers. They toured extensively within England performing for arts festivals and societies.

In 1989 Emily was invited to join members of Earth Love Fund and the Gaia Foundation in a visit to the Brazilian Amazon. This proved to be a turning point in her life. From this sprang her first CD, "Earth Songs".

Emily was invited to perform at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. It was here that she first came into contact with tribal people, making recordings of tribal singing and rituals at the Tribal Gathering. Recordings from this event are integrated into songs on the "Earth Songs" CD. "Earth Songs" was released in Europe, the USA and Australia. Extracts from the production were used as soundtracks for videos produced by Artists United for Nature and the Body Shop.

feathersA cultural grant enabled Emily to return to Brazil, where she spent a year researching and recording local folk music. She also started work on "Footsteps in the Sand", her second CD.

Whilst living in Brazil Emily visited the Xavante for the first time, and went on to develop the Marimbú Health Centre project. On returning to the UK she founded the Indigenous People’s Cultural Support Trust.

Emily’s music is now intricately connected with her work with the indigenous people of Brazil. Her latest CD, "Bridge Between Worlds" is an orchestral work which features Xavante music as an integral part. A royalty from sales of the CD will be channelled through IPCST to Xavante projects.

To find out more about Emily’s music, visit her website at www.emilyburridge.com



Sue and Patrick Cunningham

Brazil nut trees at nightfall Sue Cunningham is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. She has been documenting Brazil’s indigenous people for over twenty years, especially in the Xingu. She is a photographer and is qualified as an Associate of the British Institute of Professional Photography. She has been involved with many educational publications, including "Brazil In The School", an educational pack published by the Brazilian Embassy in London. She photographed and co-authored "Out of the Amazon" with Professor Sir Ghillean Prance, then Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Sue grew up in Brazil and returns at least once a year in the course of her professional work. She gives occasional lectures to undergraduate students at British Universities, and has contributed to the University of London Institute of Latin American Studies and to Oxford University's Latin American Centre. She has provided photographs and information for several exhibitions, "Unknown Amazon" at the British Museum, "Amazon" at the Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam and "Viva Amazonia" at the Natural History Museum, Lisbon. She has also had numerous solo and joint photographic exhibitions.

Ta'Kire, a Kayapo Indian warriorPatrick Cunningham is a writer. During a writing career spanning twenty years he has written for many magazines including Geographical Magazine, BBC Wildlife and British Airways High Life, and has authored educational books. He contributed to the Insight Guide, Brazil. He has been involved with the UK Tropical Forest Forum and has carried out research in Brazil for Pro-Natura International. He travels to Brazil frequently.

Patrick has a degree in Geology from the University of Sheffield.

Sue and Patrick have been supporters of the indigenous communities of Brazil for twenty years, working with non-governmental organisations to promote their interests and safeguard their future through respect for their rights as tribal people and as individuals.

To find out more about Sue’s photography, visit her website www.scphotographic.com



Tim Miller

misty forest view Tim Miller is a Fellow of the Royal College of Art where he was head of the post graduate film school.

His film making career started in documentaries and led to writing screenplays. His work has taken him to remote parts of the world; in 2003 The Warrior was shot in the Thar Desert in Rajisthan. In 2006 he went to the Arctic on a feature film about indigenous herders.




Professor Sir Ghillean Prance

misty forest Ghillean Prance is a distinguished botanist, well known for his work with plants in the Amazon. After spending 25 years at the New York Botanical Garden he returned to the UK to become Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew in 1988, where he remained for eleven years. Having ‘retired’ from Kew, Professor Prance contines to hold several posts, including Science Director of the Eden Project (Cornwall). He is a Visiting Professor at Reading University, and divides his time between the UK, Hawaii and South America.

Throughout his career, Professor Prance continued (and continues!) to carry out field research. He has spent months at a stretch living in the Amazon, often with tribal people, for whom he has great respect and admiration. We are very fortunate to have him as our patron.

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