Native Village 
Youth and Education News

September 1, 2013

World Indigenous Conference: Melding Conservation and Land Rights
Condensed by Native Village

Africa: Conservation seems like a great way to protect diverse natural areas from logging, over-hunting or environmental  contamination? But sometimes it comes with a catastrophic cost: The eviction of Indigenous Peoples from lands that are integral to their physical and cultural survival.

At the World Indigenous Network conference in Australia, Indigenous leaders from around the world discussed stewardship of land and water, conservation and land rights.

James Anaya is the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. He says the international community has entered a new era of awareness, and that new laws exist to defend Indigenous rights. However, making those rights a reality is an ongoing struggle.

Anaya cited Nambia's Hai//om San people. In the 1950s, the Hai//om San were forced out of Namibia's Etosha National Parks and banned from hunting and gathering there. This destroyed their livelihood and forced many to live in poverty on the edge of the reserve.

Anaya contrasts their situation with Namibia's indigenous Ju/'hoansi San people from the Nyae Nyae Conservancy. The Ju/'hoansi are managing tourism and hunting rights while staying on their own lands.

Other African groups are threatened with removal from areas designated for conservation. The Botswana government is trying to remove Bushmen (also San) indigenous people to create a wildlife corridor on their lands.
Survival International says the Bushmen were told that if they refused to leave, government trucks would remove them and destroy their houses.

Indigenous Peoples' exclusion from their lands is not limited to Africa. In fact, it is a global issue. Anaya points to the Black Hills, stolen from the Lakota Sioux by the U.S. Government in 1876 in violation of the Treaty of Fort Laramie.

"The Black Hills and Mount Rushmore, the monument, stand as ongoing representation of the unjust separation of  Indigenous Peoples from land that once sustained them, and that remains sacred to them," he said.


Map showing the Republic of Lakotah, as dictated by the 1858 Treaty of Fort Laramie.

But Anaya mentions positive initiatives, such as the Oglala Sioux working with The National Park Service to develop the nation's first Tribal National Park.

"The paths for moving forward to build just and environmentally sustainable  arrangements in consonance with the rights of Indigenous Peoples are potentially  many, and they can only be discerned by using our powers of imagination," Anaya  said. "By imagining both what the future should hold as well as what might go  wrong if bad decisions are made. By imagining with the foresight that draws from the wisdom of our ancestors."

Native Village Home Page

Native Village Gina Boltz
To receive email notices of Native Village updates, please send your email address to:
To contact us, email


Thank you to ALL the wonderful individuals,  friends, organizations, groups, news services and websites who share or donate their research, work, time and talents to make Native Village possible
In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this material is distributed without profit or payment for non-profit research, archival, news, and educational purposes only.
NATIVE VILLAGE website was created for youth, educators, families, and friends who wish to celebrate the rich, diverse cultures of The Americas' First Peoples. We offer readers two monthly publications: NATIVE VILLAGE Youth and Education News and NATIVE VILLAGE Opportunities and Websites.  Each issue shares today's happenings in Indian country. NATIVE VILLAGE also houses website libraries and informational materials to enrich all lives on Turtle Island.
Unless otherwise noted, articles are written in full by the credited author at the credited source link. We are responsible for format changes and additional photos, art, and graphics which boost visual appeal and add dimension to the reading experience. Pictures and graphics not appearing with the original article are either credited on the page or by right-clicking the picture. Some may be free or by sources unknown.
Please contact us with any copyright corrections so we may properly credit the source.
 We are not responsible for changes to outside websites and weblinks. Please notify us if any problems arise.