Save Our Sentinels

SOS – Save Our Sentinels

A short film on the life lessons from the last indigenous cultures


Today, on United Nations World Day for Cultural Diversity, renowned Indian director Senthil Kumar and photographic artist Jimmy Nelson send out a worldwide call to preserve global cultural heritage by portraying the world’s last indigenous cultures as the sentinels, the guardians, of our planet. By presenting a never-seen-before compilation of images and the intimate stories of some of the last indigenous communities of the world, Nelson and Kumar proclaim that it is now time to acknowledge and celebrate indigenous peoples as our new role models; they are the living example of how humans can live in perfect harmony with themselves and the natural world.




Planet earth is at risk of losing the cultural identities of many of the world’s most unique indigenous peoples. This is a global issue and a result of many escalating factors, including industrialization, ecocide and globalization. Together these aspects cause a homogenization and westernization of the originally diverse cultures of this world. The world’s cultural colors are fading fast and elementary natural wisdom is on the brink of being lost.

With this knowledge disappearing, a part of the memory of humanity is threatened with extinction. All knowledge that is lost, every ancestor that goes out, is a book that burns, or a library that disappears. Indigenous peoples are the guardians of ancestral knowledge that draws from the environment the solutions of everyday life. These solutions are priceless. It is a treasure for all those who have to face climate disorders because it helps them cope with the worst of its consequences, such as droughts, floods and hurricanes.  Where indigenous peoples on the Pacific Islands know which plants can protect them against possible epidemics, the elders in the Sahel know where to find hidden flows in times of ultimate drought.

We, in the dominant world, have imposed ourselves on the planet and have the habit to take – they on the other hand, have integrated themselves with the planet and are one. We can learn from this.

Indigenous communities are ready to share their traditional knowledge. They are the wise ones, the wisdom keepers,  who can (re)teach humankind on how to live in harmony with nature and each other.

“There has never been a better time than now than to bow and acknowledge the superheroes of the natural world. They can guide us out of these dark times into the light of a healthy future.”

Artist Jimmy Nelson

Today Jimmy Nelson, together with Senthil Kumar, is sending out his first call to action. With this short film, he invites the viewer to join him on his mission to safeguard the world’s last cultural identities.



English Transcript of the Multilingual Musical Narrative:

Life Lessons from the Last Indigenous Tribes.


Respect Your Family Trees

Trees are the Cathedrals of our Culture.

We grow on their shoulders

and learn the lessons of life

We breathe in what they breathe out

We are connected in the cycle of life.


Forests are the Children Of Mother Nature

They stand still and rooted to the mother

They are the oasis of every indigenous culture

We may lose everything and have nothing

We never lose sight of the mother.

Return to innocence. Return to the cradle.


Fight Fire with Fire

Learn to move to natures beat

to run faster than the wind

to dig a trench ahead of the fire

fan the fire from the opposite direction

And let fire consume the fire

to save the forest.


The Earth does not belong to us.

We are saving it for our children and their children.

We are all visitors to this time, this place.

We are just passing through.

Our purpose here is to observe

to learn, to grow, to love

and then we return home.

Who will look after it for generations to come.


Guard the Guardians of our Future

The elders of a universal truth

The protectors of our mother

The sentinels of our souls

ancestors connecting to our true being

keepers of the cosmic universe

They are the wise ones

The teachers, the guardians

of ancient rituals and knowledge


One with the mother is the meaning of life

Bring me the curious child

the one seeking answers

Bring me the seekers of the light

who turn dark shadows

into pale insignificance

The children of Mother Nature.

The guardians of our culture.

The guardians of our future.

Save Our Sentinels.


Blink. And They’re Gone.


 The Indigenous soundtrack is a multilingual musical expression with lyrics from ancient tribal sayings and forgotten folk songs recorded on location from almost all the indigenous tribes featured in the film. The musical narrative includes Indigenous influences from Africa, Siberia, India, South America and the Aboriginals Of Australia. Vocals Singers include Grammy Award Winner Richard Bona and traditional gypsy tribal singers from Duala – Cameroon, Siberia & India.




We are all human and together we can inspire humanity to respect one another. The Jimmy Nelson Foundation facilitates projects to raise awareness and share knowledge of Indigenous cultures through education and art. The reciprocity projects will focus on working together with the communities to support their cultural heritage. But we can only change the world together!


Do you or your company want to contribute financially, so we can achieve our goals? Please send an email to

Each book sold empowers people to revalue their cultural heritage. From education programmes to research and reciprocity projects. Good karma? You bet. Artist Jimmy Nelson, the initiator of this foundation, creates renowned art books. In his images, people stand there proud, as if on a pedestal, worthy of all respect. The first step towards recognition for indigenous cultures and their wisdom around the globe. His books are making an impact with a capital I. Each book sold is not only raising awareness but also financially fueling our various projects. Visit his website for more information or to order a book.

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    Subscribe to the mailing list to keep up with updates from the Jimmy Nelson Foundation.
    And don’t worry... we don’t like spam either