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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

Is the Environment for Taking From or for Giving To? A Young Indigenous Economist Finds Answers in His Own Culture

Prafulla Kalokar with Kanna K. Siripurapu I am Prafulla Kalokar, 29 years old and a member of the Indigenous Nanda-Gaoli people, a semi-nomadic pastoralist community native to the Indian state of Maharashtra. I am a doctoral student in modern economics, perhaps one of the few from my community to have come this far. As an

Pandemic Perspectives: Elephants at the Door, Masks at the Market

During a pandemic, Indigenous communities tend to be among the most vulnerable, given their often-limited access to water, food supplies, adequate healthcare, and other factors. In this special “Pandemic Perspectives” series of our Dispatches, we’re sharing stories from around the world to shed some light on the obstacles Indigenous Peoples face in light of COVID-19

Food and Fun in the Forest: An Indian Village Turns to Nature during a Pandemic-Induced Lockdown

Radhika Borde and Siman Hansdak Once upon a time, growing up as an Adivasi in rural Jharkhand in eastern India meant learning what the forest could provide in terms of nourishment, education, and enjoyment— as for Adivasis, a group claiming an Indigenous identity, the forest was a context for living rather than a resource to

Marine Biodiversity & Cultural Diversity: The Coastal Communities of Trivandrum, Kerala, India

by Lisba Yesudas & Johnson Jament (Mukkuvar, India) Marine biodiversity and cultural diversity are deeply interwoven in the coastal fishing communities of Trivandrum, Kerala, South India. This is the story of our ancestors, the story of our fellow community members; it is the story of our life! It is about our connection with the sea,

North East Network Farm School

biodiversity

Story by Kewekhrozo (Peter) Thopi, age 30, Chakhesang Naga (India); and Tshenyilou (Lele) Chirhah, age 26, Chakhesang Naga (India) Nagaland is a small mountain state in the North East Region (NER) of India. NER is one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots, and the diverse ethnic communities of the region have significantly contributed to sustaining this

In Pursuit of Dreams: An Odyssey of Self-discovery and Homecoming of a Young Dhangar Man

biocultural diversity

Story by Somnath Dadas (Dhangar), age 22, India, with Kanna K. Siripurapu Chasing My Dreams I’m Somnath Dadas (22), a young Dhangar (shepherd) man, and this is my journey of self-discovery, a story of chasing my dreams and returning to my cultural roots. I’m a native of Kothale village of the Indian state of Maharashtra,

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

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

biological diversity

by 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

Reviving Foods, Preserving Culture: My Journey as an Indigenous Food Entrepreneur

Indigenous knowledge

by Aruna Tirkey . I want to share with you the story of a journey I have begun. I am not on my way to a physical destination; rather, I am moving toward a goal: to revive local and Indigenous food as a means to strengthen my own Indigenous culture. To get there, I’m not counting on

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