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River of Brown Waters

Laissa Malih My video, River of Brown Waters, is the story of a river called Ewaso Ng’iro in northern Kenya. The river arises from the west side of Mount Kenya and flows through the pastoralist counties of Laikipia, Samburu, Isiolo, and Marsabit. It supports wildlife and many other species and has been, and continues to

Fighting Deforestation with Tradition: The Laman Kinipan Festival in Borneo

Pinarsita Juliana Coconut leaves and other decorations were hanging on the frame of the meeting hall’s gate of Laman Kinipan, a village in Lamandau district of Central Kalimantan province, Indonesia. At the gate, a welcoming ritual called potong pantan was taking place. One after the other the honored guests, wearing traditional clothes, were given a

Speaking Our Identity

El Molo

Story by Hellen Losapicho, age 34, El Molo (Kenya), and Magella Hassan Lenatiyama, age 35, El Molo (Kenya) The last fluent speaker of our language, El Molo, died in 1999, and it is now one of the most endangered languages in the world. When the Samburu people moved into our territories after an outbreak of

My Missing Tongue

Indigenous Languages

Story by Abraham Ofori-Henaku, age 21, Akan (Ghana) . It’s been quite a long journey growing up in a society that very much holds on to its rich way of life — something that I always took for granted. And now, it’s all coming back to me in regret. Oh! Pardon me! Where are my manners? Hi there!

They call me Umusangwabutaka: My People Were the First to Reach This Land, but Today We Don’t Own Any of It

biocultural diversity

Story by Marie Michelle Hirwa, Batwa (Rwanda) I am Marie Michelle Hirwa, born on September 12, 1986. I was born into a family of seven children in the Kacyiru commune, now called Gasabo, in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda. Both my mum and dad passed away when I was 9 years old. Most of my

Ewaso Ng’iro Camel Caravan

biocultural diversity

Video and text by Laissa Malih (Kenyan Laikipian Maasai), age 25 The Ewaso Ng’iro Camel Caravan is a five-day annual journey for climate change adaptation and peaceful co-existence along the Ewaso Ng’iro River in Kenya. The purpose is to promote shared understanding of threats facing the river, along with the cooperation needed to lessen them. Camels are used

Lessons of the Maasai Warriors (Morani)

Indigenous Languages

Story by Edna Kilusu (Tanzanian Maasai), age 19   “Do not come back after I lock the door,” my mother says, warning me not to be late returning tonight. While she milks the cows, I quickly build the fire and ensure that it is ready for making ugali, an everyday meal of corn flour and water

Orpul as a Place of Mind: Integrating Local Ritual into School Curriculum to Sustain Biocultural Diversity in Tanzania

biocultural diversity

by Heidi Simper “A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin, and culture is like a tree without roots.” –Marcus Garvey During the rainy season in the bush of the Great African Rift Valley in Eastern Tanzania, amid Maasai culture, acacia trees, and cries of hyenas in the night, I was conducting my

Talking the Walk in Tanzania: Language as the Missing Ingredient of Biodiversity Conservation?

Project Contributor: Samantha Ross The Eastern Arc Mountain Chain in Tanzania is one of the 33 global biodiversity hotspots and provides an ideal opportunity to study biological and linguistic diversity. The range spreads from Southern Kenya to Southern Tanzania and was formed as the Rift Valley took shape creating isolated mountainous blocks replete with unique

Promoting Traditional Medicine, Indigenous Cultural Research, and African Spirituality in Uganda

Project Contributor: Sekagya Yahaya Hill The traditional African culture that acted as a social security system for the weaker sectors of society has greatly eroded. In Uganda, the use of herbal medicine was labelled as “backward, uncivilized and unholy” during the colonial era, and traditional healers suffered much humiliation. However, the knowledge of herbal medicine

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