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Expedition Arunachal Pradesh

OtherJames Hipkiss

What is Expedition Arunachal Pradesh?

Expedition Arunachal Pradesh is a photo documentary project by Jason K. Powers covering one of the least known tribes in all of India facing possible extinction. Paired with the photo documentary, Jason will also be doing basic ethnographic research with a small team, on this remote tribe. There are many undocumented areas, many unseen faces, and so many untold stories in the land of the dawn-lit mountains. One tribe has been chosen. Jason intends to visit the Zakhring tribe who are positioned in one of the furthest north east regions of India in the valleys of the Himalayan Mountains of Arunachal Pradesh. Arunachal Pradesh is bordered on three sides by Bhutan, China and Myanmar, with the rest of India to the South. Arunachal Pradesh is positioned in the Himalayan Mountains. The Tribe: Zakhring There is very little known about the Zakhring people. A census done in 1981 revealed that there were only 14 members of their tribe remaining. Living with the Zakhring people were another people group who identified themselves as the Meyor tribe, numbering around 240 people. It is presumed that these two tribes merged at one time due to their low numbers. If the population has continued to increase at a steady rate, the current population may be upwards of around 400, but if not, the population may have decreased to a startlingly low number, which could face the tribe with total extinction in the near future.

Interestingly, some sources suggest that neither of these names are the names in which they call themselves in their own language, which is the Charumba people. The Zakhring peoples are believed to have migrated from Tibet at one time, and have resided in this area ever since. Their religion is Buddhism which seems to be tinged with beliefs in a pre-Buddhist Bon religion. It is not known whether they have their own literature or written language. The Game Plan Expedition Arunachal Pradesh has been broken down into two trips throughout the year. The first trip was in early 2012 and served as more of a reconnaissance trip, including gathering information, visiting some of the places, talking to government officials, tour operators and the media. Upon returning and sifting through lots of information and deciding on the specific tribe to document, Jason K Powers has commenced the task of putting together a small expedition to head back to Arunachal Pradesh in the Fall of 2012. Due to permit problems the trip has been postponed to early 2013.

The decision to visit the Zakhring people was based on the fact that so little is known about this special tribe. Since they are also facing the possibility of total extinction, it is important to learn about such a unique people. Jason felt that it was not enough to simply go in and take photographs of these people, but to spend time with them and learn what he can about these people and share them with the world. Jason intends to do various new and state of the art styles of documentary photography to be displayed in galleries, as well as creating a photo coffee table book about the tribe. His photographs and research will also aid the research done by Rajiv Gandhi University. He also intends to work with a local publisher in Nagaland to publish an educational book on his findings. Where is India and the North East India? N.E. India is located just below Tibet/China, with Burma/Myanmar to the S.E. and Bangladesh to the S.W. with mainland India to the West of Bangladesh. About Jason K Powers For the past 11 years, Jason K. Powers has been a freelance photographer based in the Lakewood, Colorado area. He has covered a wide range of photography from weddings, modeling, headshots, sports, photojournalism, documentary, editorial, environmental portraiture and general portraiture. He also has extensive experience photographing tribal people and environments in the jungles of India. Jason has worked with clients from families, to major magazines, PR firms, modeling agencies and newspapers. While in Colorado he covers all of the Colorado high school sports State Championships for the Colorado High School Activities Association (CHSAA).

Additionally, he works for Brightroom Inc, the largest sports photography company in the country, covering marathons, triathlons and other races, including the New York City Marathon. Jasons love for the people of N.E. India, travel, adventure and the remote areas of the world has shifted his focus to documentary and ethnographic photography work these days. Since 2004, Jason has visited North East India many times. His first trip led him to the remote jungle villages of Meghalaya and Nagaland. According to one of those villages, his group was among the first foreigners to visit them since the late 1800s. In 2006 he co-founded the non-profit, North East India Project, where he served as President. NEIP worked with remote tribal villages in the jungles of North East India helping them to become more self-sustaining through means of healthcare, childrens education, water resource and economic development. One of his new photography projects in the making is taking him to the inner city of Denver, Colorados hidden homeless population to document their lives, and expose people to the homelessness they never see standing on the street corners.

Time Frame Hopes are to visit this tribe for around 21 days. The time-frame in 2013 intended is around the month of April. Long Range Goals Jasons primary intention on this expedition is documentary photography. He is working on several original, cutting-edge methods of photographing and presenting the expedition photographs as well as planning several exhibitions in galleries throughout the U.S.A. in 2013. He will also be putting out a photo coffee-table book with sidelining stories about the Zakhring tribe. A local Indian Publisher has already committed to publish an additional book which will result from the ethnographic research conducted by other expedition members.

After this first pilot expedition, the plans are to begin covering other remote, undocumented tribes in India and possibly around the world. With enough enthusiasm and support, the possibilities are endless!