“Indigenous Peoples and Environmental Ethics” – The Kaani (Kani) community of Tamil Nadu and Kerala

West Ghats near Kanyakumari in the Tamil Nadu – Kerala border region
Photo courtesy Davidson Sargunam >>

By Davidson Sargunam

Indigenous peoples are ethnic groups native to a land or region. Usually they have a close relation to the land and live in consonance with nature.

They believe that land and people are inseparable and interdependent. It is this aspect of their lifestyle-the intertwining of their lives with their natural surrounding that are a subject of fascination to modern man.  Today at a time when man is moving further away from direct contact with nature, a study of people with a different mindset is not only a subject of fascination but an important learning as well. And this is just what inspired S. Davidson Sargunam, an environmental educationist from India to study the ‘Kaani Tribe’. […]

Realizing how modernization is affecting the tribes and their lifestyles, I felt there was an urgent need to study and document various aspects of the tribal culture. With this in mind I decided to study the ‘Kaani’ tribe. […]

I respect the culture of the ‘kaani’ tribe. But at the same time I can see how modernization is affecting them. It is becoming difficult for them to continue their old ways of living. At one time, they lived undisturbed in the forests and had access to the abundant forest resources for food and sustenance. But things are changing now.  […]

At the same time, I do not wish to glamorise their life. There are now schools nearby but so far they kept away from formal education. I am trying to help them by removing their concerns about ‘education’. Since it is something they have not been exposed to before many have apprehensions about school.  […]

We explain how child marriage affects the health of the girls as well as the babies born to them. The efforts are slowly bearing fruit. One  success story is a girl who pursuing a college degree in botany.

The Kaani tribe is inevitably facing transition, in all aspects of life. The forces of globalization, free trade and the communication revolution have made indelible impacts in their lives. […]

About the Author: 

S. Davidson, a student of English literature with a post graduate degree in Education is a man who wears many hats. He has a diploma in mass communication and now doing his MPhil in Folklore. Davidson is deeply passionate about the environment and environmental issues and is involved in a number of activities to create awareness among students, tribes, and the general public. For his work in the field of environment he was awarded the NCERT National Award, in 2000 for ‘Imparting Environmental Awareness by innovative teaching methods’.

Source: “Indigenous Peoples and Environmental Ethics : The Kaani Tribe in India” | EcoWalktheTalk
Address : http://www.ecowalkthetalk.com/blog/2011/09/07/organic-living-culture-of-the-hill-kani-tribe/
Date Visited: Mon May 14 2012 11:49:35 GMT+0200 (CEST)

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Learn more about water-related issues that affect India’s tribal communities >>
“National development and the development of tribal communities are linked to each other.” – Droupadi Murmu | Speeches by the 15th President of India >>

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Report of the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel 2011
Report of the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel
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