If not now, then when?
Kumpa Halkano giving testimony at a community meeting about alleged violence by armed security units in Northern Kenya, June 6, 2019. Photo: The Oakland Institute
This Giving Tuesday Stand Up for Indigenous Land Rights
We are grateful for you.
Your support powers our unwavering tenacity and courageous stance as we partner with communities from Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka, to Miskitu in Nicaragua, and the Maasai in Tanzania in defense of their land rights. Everyday we are reminded that the struggle for Indigenous sovereignty is not something of the past but it continues today.
“Since NRT came here we do not have peace, we miss our land and we miss our men.”
These words from a young woman from the Borana community in Biliqo, Northern Kenya haunt me.
For years, the Borana, Samburu, Somali, Pokot and Turkana communities of Northern Kenya have lived under intimidation, coercion, and violence. Their family and community members have been allegedly killed by armed security units deployed for “conservation” and dozens killed in ethnic clashes. The Kenyan police have failed to investigate the killings and human rights abuses. All for the benefit of Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT) — one of Kenya’s largest conservation agencies.
Today, the voices of these communities have been elevated and will NOT be silenced!
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Our report, Stealth Game, has shattered the silence on the devastating impact this privatized neo-colonial wildlife conservation model has inflicted on Indigenous pastoralist communities in Kenya. Wreaking violence, NRT has dispossessed pastoralist communities of their ancestral lands for conservation dollars from Western donors like USAID, the European Union, and Danida, among others.
“…we are sure that other Kenyans and the world at large, would not have known about the killings, maiming or the ongoing dispossession of our people from their lands were it not the fact that Oakland Institute has gone out of its way to painstakingly investigate these happenings to compile an impressive and accurate report.”Press Statement from elders from Borana, Samburu, Somali, Pokot and Turkana communities, November 18, 2021
We are mobilized on similar issues across the border, in Tanzania. Our petition to halt the eviction of 80,000 Indigenous residents from the Ngrongoro Conservation Area has reached over 100,000 signatures. It calls on UNESCO and the Tanzanian government to stop plans in the name of “conservation” that threaten the continued survival of the Maasai on the land they have sustainably stewarded for centuries.
Our continued research and advocacy makes it abundantly clear to those in power that fortress conservation must be replaced by truly Indigenous-led conservation efforts to preserve the remaining biodiversity of the planet while respecting the interests, rights, and dignity of the local communities.
Challenging heavily funded “conservation” organizations like NRT, backed with millions from Western aid agencies, would simply not be possible without donations from supporters like you. Our financial independence remains fundamental to our work — we do not accept any government or corporate funding. Instead, a community of individual donors who are unafraid to speak truth to power, enable our work in the global struggle for justice.
If you have followed our work over the past 18 years, you know we have remained steadfast in our commitment to taking on corporations, governments, and international finance institutions dispossessing communities of their land and natural resources. Guided by the pursuit of truth and justice, our work amplifies the voices of communities in their struggles to protect their land and lives against the greed of powerful actors.
Will you stand with us through a donation this Giving Tuesday?
Your tax-deductible one-time or monthly donation enables us to be bold and fearless, to research and advocate, and continue to ensure victories for the communities that we’ve partnered with around the world.
Thank you for all that you have done for the Oakland Institute and the land defenders!