The Ngäbe or Ngöbe people in the Bocas del Toro region of Panama have had contact with the international community since Columbus visited the area during his final voyage in 1502. Since then, the Ngäbe have fought to maintain their way of life, but due to rapidly increasing modernization, many are adopting new lifestyles and their traditions are being lost. The Ngäbe Cultural Archive Project (NCAP) aims to collaborate with Ngäbe communities to encourage the preservation and continued practice of their oral traditions and beliefs.

For over a year we have heard stories, personal and ancestral, from Ngabe people, and have come to understand the the effects, positive and negative, that globalization is having in many of their communities. Our work has primarily taken place in the coastal and island communities of the Ngäbe-Buglé Comarca (similar to a land reservation), which only accounts for a portion of their land. The people we have met, and their daily lives, are truly beautiful and seemingly other worldly but simultaneously filled with many hardships that did not exist only a few generations ago. In order to help preserve this culture, we have developed this project to not only document their culture but also bring awareness to a way of life that is rapidly disappearing from the modern world.

Stage 1 - Learn from the Ngäbe (June 2013 - Ongoing)

- Consistently visit communities and forge relationships with Ngäbe interested in our project

- Document traditional practices in communities and engage those involved

- Research documents and any information pertaining to the Ngäbe people

Stage 2 - Make a Film (August 2014 - May 2015)

- Create a short fundraising video to introduce our project and the people that will be involved

- Put together a budget, shooting schedule, and fundraising plan for our feature documentary

- Research and write grants to raise money

- Return to Panama in February to shoot the film

Stage 3 - Share the Ngäbe culture! (Summer 2015 - Fall 2015)

- Premiere the film in Ngäbe communities that shared their culture with us

- Begin the conversation of how we can help them maintain their culture

- Take our film to festivals around the world, sharing the Ngäbe’s story and creating awareness to the many challenges they face

- Put on special fundraising screening in Los Angeles, Panama City and any other city, to raise money for the Ngäbe Cultural Archive Project

Stage 4 - Give Back (Beginning in Fall 2015)

- Establish programs to educate Ngäbe youth about their ancestors, their traditions, and their language

- Identify community members in as many communities as possible and support them in creating a sustainable and long standing program