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Photojournalist Charlotte L. Pert has a National Geographic Young Explorer grant  to tell the story "Changing Indigenous Culture in Cambodia, War, and Now." The outheast Asian country is known in the West for its spectacular Angkor ruins -- and for the genocide committed by the Khmer Rouge, one of the worst mass killings of the 20th Century. Cambodia is less known for its 22 indigenous groups, which to this day still remain largely undocumented.

Indigenous minorities were particularly targeted by the Khmer Rouge. Having lost their cultural identities 40 years ago, these communities are now trying to recover and survive in their changed world, whilst also overcoming modern-day issues. In a country where the entire nation was traumatised, how are these minorities surviving?

Charley Pert plans to photograph and document these remaining groups, and present what has been recovered, and lost, in the wake of the genocide. She is attempting to source old colonial photographs, and compile stories from elders who were about at the time, or who remember the stories of their parents who lived through colonialism. In this way she hopes to build an image of what has been lost, as well as what has been preserved. Looking into the changes that have occurred over time,  from pre-war to modern day factors (like access to electricity and communications) that are influencing the youth, she hopes to also showcase how the indigenous way of life is being adapted by the next generation.

As these indigenous cultures are changing so rapidly, it is important to capture what is left and look into how they are retaining their identities.

Charley's photography has been published by The Guardian, Daily Beast, and Phnom Penh Post.

Unpacking the untold stories of Cambodia’s indigenous minorities

Changing Indigenous Culture in Cambodia: War, and Now Eight months, 41 days in the field. That involved  7 provinces, 14 buses, 6 cars, 16 days on motorbikes, 2 tuk tuks, 1 river raft, hours of muddy walks, 5 translators, over 20 homestay floors to sleep on, 24 families, 1 MacBook filled with data, 2 digital…