inkwell.vue.362 : Mark Dowie, Conservation Refugees
permalink #26 of 47: Mark Dowie (markdowie) Tue 25 Aug 09 09:05
Of course urbanization makes a beneficial contribution to nature,
simply by staying out of it and concentrating human impact in dense
communities. But urbanization also uses a lot more resources and raw
materials per urban resident than per rural resident. And the
extraction of those resources has a negative impact on non-urban parts
of the planet.

But this is really not what I was talking about in the sentence you
quote. There I was lamenting the fact that when human individuals
urbanize themselves, ie. live most of their lives inside a city,
surrounded by urban infrastructure, urban culture and urban food
systems, they tend to lose sight of what the rest of the planet means
to them and their survival. Their sense of "nature" becomes a hike, on
a well tended trail, through the woods bordering their city or the site
of their cottage, not the complex of services provided by ecosystems
far from the city limits.
inkwell.vue.362 : Mark Dowie, Conservation Refugees
permalink #27 of 47: Mark McDonough (mcdee) Tue 25 Aug 09 10:04
I think the concept of ecosystem services is at best very dimly
understood.  Of course, nature bats last...
inkwell.vue.362 : Mark Dowie, Conservation Refugees
permalink #28 of 47: Gail Ann Will (gail) Wed 26 Aug 09 16:24
    <scribbled by gail Wed 26 Aug 09 17:09>
inkwell.vue.362 : Mark Dowie, Conservation Refugees
permalink #29 of 47: William Pauly (almedia) Wed 26 Aug 09 16:42

Interesting tension between humanity as part of the ecosystem, acting
as benign agents within that intricate web, and as self-interested, and
self-aware proprietors of that selfsame "wilderness".

Throws into high relief the notion of "indigenous"; does the latter
have a clear and unproblematic definition? Specifically, can a culture
which we regard as indigenous be exposed to and utilise all of the
technology currently available without somehow becoming "corrupted"
inkwell.vue.362 : Mark Dowie, Conservation Refugees
permalink #30 of 47: Gail Williams (gail) Wed 26 Aug 09 17:11
Sorry I had to delete my post above.  I messed up the formatting on
the pasted-in quote!  I'll repost it, though almedia asks plenty for
interesting discussion. 
inkwell.vue.362 : Mark Dowie, Conservation Refugees
permalink #31 of 47: trying again.... (gail) Wed 26 Aug 09 17:15
There's a lot to think about.  

I'm in favor of greenbelt wildlife corridors, "overripe" timber that
supports owls, and much of what imperfect conservationalists have
fought for.  I'm not overly romantic
-- for one thing, I lived and worked in Yosemite for a year when I was
21, and saw a lot of the painful compromises and urban pressures on
valley, studied conservation in college, and spent a little time at
Hopi pondering the ironies of the old tradition of throwing stuff off
the sides of the mesas.  (Ancient pot shards and putrid pampers bring
some of the contradictions into relief!)  I do wonder how wildlife
habitat and "open space" can be preserved in the face of poverty and
the desire for prosperity, anyplace.  

I was not one of the readers who has your book, however, I found an
interesting article of yours from Orion magazine that covers some of
the territory at:

I was taken by the examples you gave, such as this one:

   “We are enemies of conservation,” declared Maasai leader Martin
    Saning’o, standing before a session of the November 2004 World 
    Conservation Congress sponsored by IUCN in Bangkok, Thailand. 
    The nomadic Maasai, who have over the past thirty years lost most 
    of their grazing range to conservation projects throughout eastern

    Africa, hadn’t always felt that way. In fact, Saning’o reminded
    audience, “...we were the original conservationists.” The room 
    was hushed as he quietly explained how pastoral and nomadic 
    cattlemen have traditionally protected their range: “Our ways of 
    farming pollinated diverse seed species and maintained corridors  

    between ecosystems.”

    Then he tried to fathom the strange version of land conservation
    that has impoverished his people, more than one hundred thousand 
    of whom have been displaced from southern Kenya and the 
    Serengeti Plains of Tanzania. Like the Batwa, the Maasai have not 
    been fairly compensated. Their culture is dissolving and they live

    in poverty.

    “We don’t want to be like you,” Saning’o told a room of shocked
    white faces. “We want you to be like us. We are here to change 
    your minds. You cannot accomplish conservation without us.”

Have the Maasai made progress in getting access to their grazing lands
since then?  Is Saning'o still leading this initiative?

What are the experiences with modern technologies:  if people return
their lands and not all of them agree that they "don’t want to be like
you," then are we certain to slowly lose those habitats to
inkwell.vue.362 : Mark Dowie, Conservation Refugees
permalink #32 of 47: Mark Dowie (markdowie) Fri 28 Aug 09 10:04
Indigenous: This is the tough one. The central issue for indigenous
peoples is recognition, and recognition depends partly on the
definition of indigeneity. There is no legal definition of indigenous
peoples, partly because there is no legal recognition of the word

Some Africans say that all black Africans are indigenous to Africa, so
there is no point in differentiating between Batwa and Bantu, Basarwa
and Tswana. The government of Botswana in fact declares that all of its
citizens are indigenous – from the ancient Basarwa Bushmen who arrived
there some 22,000 years ago to the most recently settled colonist. By
contrast Richard Leakey insists there are no indigenous people in
Kenya. Are the Karen, Hmong, Akha and other hill tribes of Southeast
Asia indigenous to Burma, Thailand and Laos or to Yunnan China from
where they migrated a few hundred years ago? To where are the Maasai,
Qashqui or the Tuareg pastorals indigenous? 

The International Labor Organization’s Convention 169 defines
indigenous peoples as “tribal peoples in independent countries whose
social, cultural and economic conditions distinguish them from other
sections of the national community, and whose status is regulated
wholly or partially by their own customs or traditions or by special
laws or regulations.” 

The International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs rejects all
definitions. “We assert our inherent right to define who we are. We do
not approve of any other definition,” reads their official statement on
the matter.

Since there is so much confusion about who is and who is not
indigenous, for the purpose of my text, I used the following
definition: A people are indigenous to an area if they occupied the
land where they reside, or in the case of pastoral nomadics, if they
grazed their livestock in a region, before the particular area in
question was absorbed by the nation state or states within which it now

The Maasai are still being mistreated in Tanzania and Kenya,
particularly right now in Tanzania where they are being evicted from 
Boumas on land claimed by a United Arab Emirate corporation. The
interest there appears to be bug game hunting rather than conservation.
But then colonial big game hunters have always claimed to be ardent
inkwell.vue.362 : Mark Dowie, Conservation Refugees
permalink #33 of 47: Steve Bjerklie (stevebj) Fri 28 Aug 09 11:01
Mark, what would be an effective solution at this point? We can't go
back to hunter-gatherer days (unless, I suppose, we nuke our way
there). So how does our modern, resource-dependent, eco-depleting
civilization protect the fragile relationships, human and wild, that
you describe so beautifully in "Conservation Refugees"? Is there
evidence the BINGOs, as you call them, are finally listening to the
representatives of the indigenous groups? And how should a large
government such as we have here in the U.S. respond?
inkwell.vue.362 : Mark Dowie, Conservation Refugees
permalink #34 of 47: Mark Dowie (markdowie) Sat 29 Aug 09 11:08
Of course I'm not suggesting or expecting that we go back to
hunter-gatherer days, although it may well be the hunter-gatherers who
ultimately "inherit the earth" ..... or what's left of it when we, the
plundering classes have consumed ourselves into extinction. 

Part of any future strategy for biodiversity conservation should, I
believe, be to defend and encourage any and all communities and
cultures that are proving themselves to be worthy stewards of their
homelands. And I found most hunter-gatherer cultures to pass that test.
So I'd let them be. Don't mess with their land or their lifeways.

Yes there are many people in the employ of the BINGOs who are hearing
and heeding the native message, respecting traditional ecological
knowledge (TEK) and vocally opposing the eviction of indigenous
peoples. Hopefully they will rise into leadership positions in their
respective  NGOs and create a vital new paradigm for global
conservation,one that blends TEK with western textbook biological
sciences and includes indigenous peoples as equal players and rights
holders in the management of protected areas.
inkwell.vue.362 : Mark Dowie, Conservation Refugees
permalink #35 of 47: Maria Rosales (rosmar) Sat 29 Aug 09 11:21
"A people are indigenous to an area if they occupied the
land where they reside, or in the case of pastoral nomadics, if they
grazed their livestock in a region, before the particular area in
question was absorbed by the nation state or states within which it

But doesn't that definition, then, include the British, Dutch, French,
and Spanish colonists who arrived in the Americas before the Americas
were divided into nation states?
inkwell.vue.362 : Mark Dowie, Conservation Refugees
permalink #36 of 47: Anne Boyd (nitpicker) Mon 31 Aug 09 08:46
I said at the outset of this discussion that I found the Epilogue,
"Vital Diversities; Balancing the Protection of Nature and Culture," to
be the perhaps the most provocative section of the book.  Here, Mark
sums up the many failures and injustices of the 'fortress conservation'
model, which is based upon the still deeply ingrained Western belief
that humans are separate from nature, and discusses the possibilities
of alternate models of conservation.

He observes that the "central strategy" of conservation science -
creating protected areas and attempting to keep them free of human
influence - has not only unjustly evicted people from their lands, but
has also failed to stem the tide of biodiversity loss, which has only
accelerated as more and more 'protected areas' are created.  

Mark goes on to suggest that community-initiated and managed
conservation can be a better model, along with "turning more human
beings into true conservationists by teaching the value of natural
capital at every level of education, and creating incentives in every
society to conserve natural resources."  Finally,

"The next step would be to find ways to produce economic wellbeing
without compromising vast ecosystems, or to put it in more spiritual
terms, without assaulting creation.  Of course, eventually that would
mean regarding the entire planet as a protected area, a sacred site if
you will, worthy of equal protection - no more 'sacrifice zones'
anywhere on Mother Earth."

When I read these words - which Mark goes on in the next paragraph to
say are possibly "too radical"! - it suggests to me that we not only
need better and more wholistic strategies for protecting and
maintaining surviving areas of high biodiversity, but that it also
follows that we need new approaches and techniques for restoring
biodiversity and natural function to the whole landscape - including
the parts of it that we might, under our existing paradigm, write off
as hopelessly degraded ... including cities, industrial and
infrastructural areas, contaminated places.  

In my field we have a concept called "regenerative design,"  which is
meant to go beyond mere "sustainability."  Various definitions can be
found of what "regenerative" means in this context, but I would sum it
up as a belief that our design and planning efforts can be inspired by
a greater understanding of natural processes and systems, and an
attempt to work in harmony with those processes and systems in the
environment we build.  Also inherent in the concept of regenerative
design is a vision of regenerating communities - renewing the
relationships of people to one another as well as to their world.

We touched earlier on the question of what happens when indigenous
people gain access to technology, and how it might change their
relationship to their landscapes - whether a destructive relationship
is inherent in that technology, no matter who is using it.  In answer
to that question, Mark suggests that it's not the technology itself
that's the problem - in the words of the book, "The modern
transformation of societies from primitive to technological cultures
has proved to be disastrous for ecological health and biodiversity.  It
needn't be that way."

Along those lines, I wonder whether indigenous peoples, and the
concept of traditional ecological knowledge, might have something to
offer the rest of us and the landscapes we inhabit, in learning how to
relate to the landscape and actively manage it for biodiversity and
sustainability, or even to restore/rebuild those things where they have
been degraded or lost.

I think I'm going to disagree with Mark in his earlier reply to a
question, in which he said that "urbanization makes a beneficial
contribution to nature, simply by staying out of it" and that urban
dwellers necessarily "lose sight of what the rest of the planet means
to them and their survival."   Ecosystem services are not only provided
"far from the city limits" - they are, or can be, provided right in
the midst of our cities.  And urban dwellers can potentially have
access to a great wealth of cultural and natural information -
ecoliteracy as well as the cultural kind - and can learn to use that
knowledge to reimagine every part of the human relatoinship to the

I don't think cities should be considered "sacrifice zones" any more
than other parts of the landscape should.  Mark, you argue that we
should turn "more human beings into true conservationists by teaching
the value of natural capital at every level of education."  We do have
a lot to learn from indigenous people and their forms of ecological
knowledge and management; maybe some of those lessons can be applied
even in Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York...
inkwell.vue.362 : Mark Dowie, Conservation Refugees
permalink #37 of 47: Mark Dowie (markdowie) Mon 31 Aug 09 09:04
In some cases yes. The Bayou Cajun (French) in Louisiana, the Spanish
landholders of Chimayo NM and others would fit my definition of
indigenous. Problem is most colonialists didn't stay on the land they
first occupied, they simply turned the whole place into their state and
in doing so subsumed and claimed the ancient "nations" of people who
now claim indigeniety and sovereignty.

Let's agree to disagree on the urban question
inkwell.vue.362 : Mark Dowie, Conservation Refugees
permalink #38 of 47: Gail Williams (gail) Mon 31 Aug 09 12:16
Anne, when you posted:

>In my field we have a concept called "regenerative design,"  which is
meant to go beyond mere "sustainability."  

I remembered a topic on The WELL way back in the early 90s which was
called something like "Terraforming planet Earth."  It was a great
phrase, borrowed from science fiction where some harsh far world would
be sculpted, planted and warmed or cooled for human habitation with the
use of bacteria, plants, animals and energy. There the term was, oddly
applied back onto this place, Terra, that was supposed to be the model
environment.  There was a lot I liked about the idea of re-greening
our own planet as science fiction, but there was also something

I like the Mojave, and I cringe to see residents try to terraform a
little bite of the desert into a slice of midwest suburbia with a lawn.
 But then again, the Anasazi practiced corn and squash farming where
there was water.  Humans have been trying to terraform for many
thousands of years.

Humans like to apply both sentimental and survival contexts in working
the land.  It may be the myth of Shangri-La, or the desire for a
grassy golf course, or the traditional imperative for more open meadows
for grazing lands.  Garden-making! So old and so human that it got
attributed to God and Eden.  

Whatever we do to preserve biodiversity and wild places, we will be
balancing those garden-making values, traits and trends with science,
demand for land and our current sense of justice.   Hopefully we can
preserve traditional ways of life and do a better job for all the
reasons this book details, but I hope we don't stop trying to give
other species besides humans top priority in some habitats.  I sure
hope you can see some smart choices on the horizon that can keep some
of those magical places where people are not primary gardeners, but
just visitors.  Places where that idea of a garden not touched by the
hands of man can still inspire, and the species we might not like as
pets or in our garden plots can thrive.   
inkwell.vue.362 : Mark Dowie, Conservation Refugees
permalink #39 of 47: Anne Boyd (nitpicker) Mon 31 Aug 09 13:19
Well, I think the idea of nature as separate from man, as Mark points
out throughout the book, stands in the way of real understanding of the
nuances of our relationship with the natural world.  

We don't face a binary choice between an unspoiled, untouched,
"wilderness" that we can somehow keep under a glass bubble to admire
forever, and a totally cultural artifact called a "garden" or a "city"
that is not inhabited by any authentic nature.  We have, instead, a
whole series of negotiations between culture and nature, which are
taking place in the furthest "wilderness" just as surely as they're
taking place on our street corners.

Here's a quote from William Cronon's essay "The Trouble with
Wilderness," which Mark also quotes in his book.  It comes after a
discussion of a tree in the wilderness and the same tree planted in a
garden, where "both trees stand apart from us; both trees share our
common world":

"Our challenge is to stop thinking of such things according to a set
of bipolar moral scales in which the human and the non-human, the
unnatural and the natural, the fallen and the unfallen, serve as our
conceptual map for understanding and valuing the world.  Instead, we
need to embrace the full continuum of a natural landscape that is also
cultural, in which the city, the suburb, the pastoral, and the wild
each has its proper place, which we permit ourselves to celebrate
without needlessly denigrating the others...In particular, we need to
discover a common middle ground in which all of these things, from the
city to the wilderness, can somehow be encompassed in the word 'home.' 
Home, after the place for which we take responsibility, the
place we try to sustain so we can pass on what it best in it (and in
ourselves) to our children."

I did a project recently where I studied the natural lore of the
Tongva (Gabrielino) people who originally inhabited the Los Angeles
basin, in an attempt to understand how they related to their landscape
and used its natural resources.  Although members of this tribe still
survive, most of their cultural knowledge was wiped out when their way
of life was obliterated by the Spanish missions; the source material
that survives is pretty thin and vague, written down second-hand by
people who didn't begin to understand the complexity of what they were
being told.  Europeans didn't hesitate, for instance, to apply the
names of plants they knew to the local plants, and so much of the time
you can't even tell what native plant is being discussed in the

People think of the natural condition of Los Angeles as a barren
desert, inhospitable to life, but it was once rich and abundant and
diverse and supported its human population very well, so well they
never developed agriculture, but had a pretty high population density
for hunter-gatherers.  (Of course many orders of magnitude less than
the population density of today's megalopolis, but still.)  

It's heartbreaking to think of the knowledge base that was lost when
the native culture was wiped out; and worth thinking about on a day
like today, when we're all cowering under the massive clouds of another
destructive wildfire ... which, my geographer and natural restoration
specialist friends remind me, is not reflective of our "natural
condition" at all, but of our altered terrain and hydrology, invasive
plants, building patterns, history of fire suppression, etc. 

Back a few posts ago, Mark quoted an Inuit leader describing a person
who understands and uses both traditional ecological knowledge (TEK)
and Western science as 'strong like two people.' I suppose the epilogue
to Mark's book inspired me to think that traditional ecological
knowledge could be a very powerful contributor, not just to the
preservation of areas that are already biodiverse and functioning well
ecologically, but to the restoration of areas that have been damaged
and degraded.  And that would be across the whole spectrum of
culturally influenced landscapes: in some places, restoring more
'natural' landscapes that have been damaged; in others, reimagining our
suburbs and parks and cities and even our own backyards to play a more
functional role in larger ecological systems.  

I sure do wish that so much of what the Tongva knew had not been lost.
 Those moving descriptions of traditional ecological knowledge in
Mark's book really made me think about those scarce and vague records
that I looked at so hard, trying to learn what they were really talking
about.  Even paving over the Los Angeles Basin isn't as irrevocable an
act as losing that knowledge.
inkwell.vue.362 : Mark Dowie, Conservation Refugees
permalink #40 of 47: Gail Williams (gail) Mon 31 Aug 09 14:48
Yeah, the choices are not binary, that's for sure.  
inkwell.vue.362 : Mark Dowie, Conservation Refugees
permalink #41 of 47: David Gans (tnf) Mon 31 Aug 09 23:15

I am very sorry to have been absent form this discussion, friends.  I ran
into a spot of trouble on the road last week and lost severeal days of
reading and work.

Having been deeply affected by the Yosemite chapter of Mark's wonderful book,
I got in touch with my friend Stu Levy, a photographer (and physician) who
worked closely with Ansel Adams.  I post the following with his permission:

I must confess that I haven't read of lot of Muir's original
writings and I'm not an environmental history expert, but the
historical context he lived in included three hundred years of
removing indigenous people from their land, the deforestation of
much of the Midwest, such as Minnesota, and the engineering
capability of damming Hetch Hetchy. I think that the feared (and
eventual) loss of the actual land forms, coupled with the greed of
resource based industries (timber, mining) made the creation of
sanctuaries of the land a better alternative than their destruction.

I do remember hearing stories of logging of Yosemite Valley floor
by the native people before white men came. Their use was most
likely sustainable, but they were not blasting huge rock forms out
of existence. I do remember hearing about deforestation in the
Himalayas and the environmental damage that caused.

What I've read about Anasazi groups in the Four Corners area a
thousand years ago hypothesized that over-harvesting of the land
used up the water table and perhaps contributed to severe drought
years, the need for migrations and the collapse of their cultures.

Re: Ansel - his early photographs were influenced by his
predecessors in Yosemite - Watkins, Muybridge and Fiske, as well as by
painters such as Bierstadt. There were occasionally people in
Ansel's photos of Yosemite, and these can be seen in some of his
early publications, but they were neither his greatest photos nor
the ones that sold. He did produce a book called Michael and Anna
in Yosemite, a photo book of his two children's various adventures
living in Yosemite Valley. Ansel's people pictures tended to be
more formal portraits as opposed to anything resembling spontaneous or
"street" photography. Photos in New Mexico (especially Taos
Pueblo) and Manzanar are the two areas where he photographed daily
activities. In Carmel, there is currently an Ansel show of his
Portraits at the Center for Photographic Arts (closes August 30).

I think Ansel resigned from the board of the Sierra Club when the
new Tioga Road was built because he didn't like how the land was
being destroyed (again, blasting out rock forms). He did rejoin

An analogous failure to preserve land occurred in the late 1950's - early
1960's when the Glen Canyon was flooded by the creation of
Lake Powell and the Glen Canyon Dam as part of political deals
which set aside Dinosaur National Monument in Utah to "satisfy the
conservationists". Again, resource greed trumped any consideration
of Native Peoples, much less preserving unique land forms filled
with cultural artifacts. A good account of this appears in Cadillac Desert
by Marc Reisner.

That's my humble perspective.

Hope all is well.

inkwell.vue.362 : Mark Dowie, Conservation Refugees
permalink #42 of 47: Anne Boyd (nitpicker) Tue 1 Sep 09 08:57
Mark, we're drawing to a close soon on our discussion here and I want
to thank you once again for participating.  This book opens up a whole
lot of really provocative questions and raises a lot of awareness of
issues that I'm sure many people did not have much information about.

My final question to you (once you've struggled with the above!) will
be to ask what your next upcoming project(s) are.  Will you be
researching the issue of conservation refugees further, or are you on
to other topics?
inkwell.vue.362 : Mark Dowie, Conservation Refugees
permalink #43 of 47: Mark Dowie (markdowie) Tue 1 Sep 09 09:35
A lot of great commentary in the last few hours, but not much I really
disagree with or need to respond to. So let me leave off by correcting
an idea I am often accused of harboring. 

I have been accused of opposing the preservation of wilderness. I am
all for wilderness preservation. I supported the 1963 Wilderness Act
when it was passed (at some risk to family relationships)and I still
do. But the sentiment I support in the Act is that of preserving
existing wilderness, roadless areas that remain pristine and, as the
Act says, "untrammeled by man." 

I also have no problem with the idea of natural restoration --
attempting to return a trammelled area to a relatively untramelled
state. But attempting to turn human-occupied land, particularly land
under cultivation, into wilderness is creating an artiface, a theme
park of wilderness, which of course is exactly what has become of
Yosemite Valley.

I think Ansel Adams was right to resign from the Sierra Club in
protest over construction of the Tioga Road, as that road and all
others like it end forever the potential for true wilderness. As the
reprised Grinnell study recently demonstrated, once you turn wilderness
into park you alter permanently the biological character and diversity
of the local ecosystem.

So wilderness to wilderness I am all for. Native land to wilderness is
 artiface. And that's the most polite thing that can be said about
evicting native people from traditional homelands in the interest of
conservation or wilderness preservation.

What next? I'm headed down to the Bayous south of New Orleans where
the Houma people have lived and fished since the mid 17th century. Like
so many remote communities around the world the Houma are losing land
and livelihood to chaotic climate changes that are overwhelming the
impressive adaptive mechanisms they have developed over the centuries.

So I guess you could say I have made a subtle shift in interest from
"Conservation Refugees" to "Ecological Refugees."
inkwell.vue.362 : Mark Dowie, Conservation Refugees
permalink #44 of 47: Steve Bjerklie (stevebj) Tue 1 Sep 09 11:49
Mark, this has been a terrific conversation, and I wish it could go on
as it has for another month or two. In any event, it's been nice, too,
to catch up a bit. Good luck on your next endeavor -- and I wait
anxiously for the published result. 
inkwell.vue.362 : Mark Dowie, Conservation Refugees
permalink #45 of 47: Gail Williams (gail) Tue 1 Sep 09 13:08
Wow, Houma is going to be great for food and music during your
research stay! There's another set of advantages to looking at cultural
contexts.  I'm sure you've read the essay on Louisiana in John
McPhee's "Control of Nature," must-read for lower-Mississippi River

And while we're mentioning books, let's be sure to get a link to your
book on your publisher's site in here too:
inkwell.vue.362 : Mark Dowie, Conservation Refugees
permalink #46 of 47: Gail Williams (gail) Wed 2 Sep 09 16:17
Anne, Mark and everybody who posted, thank you for sharing your insights and
questions with us here!  The two-week conversation is officially finished,
but feel free to keep this going at whatever speed you want for as long as
you want.

Other places to talk about similar issues are the ongoing WELL conferences
on <wildlife.> and <see.> which is a sustainability conference, for those
who wish to add them to your regular rounds.

inkwell.vue.362 : Mark Dowie, Conservation Refugees
permalink #47 of 47: Steve Bjerklie (stevebj) Mon 16 Nov 09 04:09
And on it goes...

November 15, 2009
Forest People May Lose Home in Kenyan Plan

MARASHONI, Kenya — With the stroke of a pen, the last of Kenya’s honey
hunters may soon be homeless.

Since time immemorial, the Ogiek have been Kenya’s traditional forest
dwellers. They have stalked antelope with homemade bows, made medicine
from leaves and trapped bees to produce honey, the golden elixir of the
woods. They have struggled to survive the press of modernity, and many
times they have been persecuted, driven from their forests and
belittled as “dorobo,” a word meaning roughly people with no cattle.
Somehow, they have always managed to survive.

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