Kicking Native People Off Their Land Is a Horrible Way to Save the Planet

Feb. 22, 2024
Robert A Williams Jr University of Arizona Tribal Rights Indigenous Law IPLP

Robert A. Williams, Jr., in his New York Times opinion piece, discusses the conflict between environmental conservation efforts and the rights of Indigenous peoples, using examples from Tanzania, India, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. He highlights how conservation efforts often lead to the eviction and mistreatment of Indigenous peoples from their ancestral lands, despite the fact that these communities have historically protected biodiversity. Williams advocates for Indigenous-led conservation practices, citing successful examples from around the world, and calls for international support to recognize and protect the rights of Indigenous peoples within conservation initiatives.

Drawing upon his extensive experience in indigenous law and policy, Williams' essay criticizes policies that favor the creation of protected areas at the expense of indigenous populations, pointing out the irony and injustice of preserving nature by removing its original stewards. His arguments underscore the importance of involving indigenous communities in environmental conservation efforts, highlighting their historical and ongoing contributions to sustainable stewardship of the land.

This thought-provoking piece not only amplifies the voices of indigenous peoples in the global conversation on climate change and biodiversity but also challenges policymakers, conservationists, and the international community to rethink approaches to environmental protection that respect indigenous rights and knowledge.

For a detailed exploration of these issues, you can read the full article on The New York Times' website: Kicking Native People Off Their Land Is a Horrible Way to Save the Planet.