Knowing their rights and making it known: The four indigenous communities in the Gudalur valley of the Nilgiris – Tamil Nadu

Kattunayakan honey harvesters Photo © Tarsh Thekaekara | Learn more about bees and honey on this website >>

The Gudalur valley in the Nilgiris is home to four distinct indigenous communities – Paniyas, Kattunayakans, Mullukurumbas and Bettakurumbas.

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On 15th December, 2014, members from 31 Tribal Gram Sabhas of the Gudalur and Pandalur Taluks organized a protest to demand their rights in the forest.

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My name is Ramesh. I work in The Shola Trust as a wildlife conservationist. In this blog, I am writing about my conversation with my grandfather, Bomman thatha (grandfather) about the bonding between adivasi people and the forest.

Bomman thatha is from the Bettakurumba tribe. He lives in the village, Kanjikolly, along the edge of Mudmalai and of course has a great knowledge about forest and honey collection, fishing, collecting tubers and medicinal plants.

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Tribal boys and girls (who complete school but often have no further opportunities) could be trained as community health workers or nurses and incentivised to stay and work in their own communities. A successful example is the ASHWINI Gudalur Adivasi hospital in the Nilgiris, where the management and most staff (except the doctors) are tribal.

Source: “Taking healthcare to India’s remote tribes” by Soumya Swaminathan, The Hindu, September 2, 2014
Date Visited: 31 August 2020

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