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A Chicken for Every Occasion: Exploring the Significance of India’s Native Poultry Breeds

Kanna K. Siripurapu and Sabyasachi Das A few months ago, I received a document written by my colleague Uday Kalyanapu about the success of a backyard poultry project in the tribal-dominated areas of the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. The project was started by WASSAN (Watershed Support Services and Activities Network), the organization with which

Learning to Write Our Native Language: The Nepalbhasa Ranjana Script of Nepal

Indigenous Languages

Manju Maharjan and Yuvash Vaidya We are Newahs, the Indigenous people of the Kathmandu Valley in Nepal. We are worshippers in the Hindu and Buddhist traditions and belong to several different ethnic groups, but historically we all spoke a common language, Nepalbhasa. While the language is prevalent among the older folks, most of the youth

Locking Horns to Save the Sacred Cow: India’s Indigenous Pastoralists Fight for Their Livelihoods and Cultural Traditions

Kanna K. Siripurapu The sacredness of the cow in India, especially to the vast majority of Hindus, hardly needs an introduction. According to the Hindu scriptures, all cows are descendants of the mythical cow Kamadhenu (also known as Surabhi). Born of an ocean of milk, Kamadhenu generously provides good things to anyone who asks. Her

Finding Resilience in the Time of COVID-19: The Pahari Bamboo Weaving Craft in Nepal

biocultural diversity

Manju Maharjan, Yuvash Vaidya, Prakash Khadgi, and Sheetal Vaidya About twelve kilometers southeast of the city of Lalitpur in Nepal, an urban village called Badikhel sprawls over an area of nearly six square kilometers. Surrounded by a dense forest, the village harbors about 3,600 members of an Indigenous community, the Pahari, whose unique dialect, Pahibhae,

You Can Eat Your Cake and Have It Too: A Special Cake Recipe from the Nicobar Islands, India

coconut helmet

by Rakhi Kumari Food—its cultivation, cooking, and consumption—is an important ingredient for studying a society. Whether looking at food through the lens of anthropology, history, or linguistics, we cannot skip this strand of the cultural tapestry of a society if we wish to understand it clearly. What we eat, and how we eat, isn’t just

There Is So Much More to a Story than Meets the Eye: Tales from the Dusun of Ulu Papar, Malaysia

traditional equipment to fish

by Marina Aman Sham Malaysia is a vast country with a mosaic of cultures blending Asian and European influences. Its natural heritage spans rainforests that are home to many species of endemic wildlife, the great heights of its mountains, and seas filled with amazing underwater creatures. I am from Sabah, the Malaysian portion of the

Bahadar ’s Almanac: Oral Tradition in Northern Pakistan Makes People Resilient and Prepared for Natural Disasters

Gurnal village

Text by Zubair Torwali Photos by Aftab Ahmad When I still used to lend a hand in the fields to my father, now 78, he would refer to a certain guy, Bahadar |bahadər|, for his oral traditions about the right weather for sowing and harvesting. At that time, I was in college and was familiar

Indigenous Knowledge, Biodiversity Conservation, and Poverty Alleviation Among Ethnic Minorities in Yunnan, China

Project Contributor: Xu Jianchu The opening up and success of economic reforms in recent decades in China have produced high and sustained economic growth rates and lifted millions of people out of poverty. Concurrent political reforms have decentralized many decision-making processes and created new democratic institutions, especially in rural areas. These changes, however, have placed

Culturally Rich Agroecosystems: Maintaining Traditional Beliefs for Food Security in Nepal

Project Contributor: Laxmi Pant Nepalese “rice culture” has provided important options to address the needs of ecosystems and local communities together, particularly in areas that are diverse, complex and resource poor. The cultivation of diverse landraces of rice has advantages over “improved” rice varieties, both ecologically and culturally. Despite greater economic value of improved varieties,

Recording Traditional Knowledge of Biodiversity for the People’s Biodiversity Register of India

Project Contributor: Yogesh Gokhale India is rich in biodiversity resources and the associated traditional knowledge of the properties and uses of these resources. However, the social, political, economic, technological and cultural milieu is changing rapidly, and this is significantly affecting the way in which India’s living resources are being used. Further, India is lacking in

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