| 01-08-2016

The right to live off their ancestral lands

The second series looks into the struggle of indigenous peoples to access and control their traditional lands, as a prerequisite to feed themselves adequately.

Indigenous peoples are the holders of unique languages, knowledge systems and beliefs and possess invaluable knowledge of practices for the sustainable management of natural resources. Despite having several international legal instruments backing their rights, as well as national legislation, indigenous peoples face numerous hurdles to access and control the lands where former generations grew up and flourished.

Understanding that the right to food and nutrition can     only be realized if the access to food that is nutritious and culturally acceptable is provided, the right of indigenous peoples to feed themselves cannot be fulfilled under any circumstance unless the access to and control over their ancestral territory is ensured and an appropriate environment guaranteed. What are the required approaches to turn this situation around?

Also referred to as ancestral territory, their traditional lands are at the core of their identity, spirituality and beliefs, and any harm to or deprivation of these supposes a direct attack to their essence as indigenous peoples. They are the land and the land is them.