PROUD, NOT PRIMITIVE

Tribal people are not ‘backwards’, they haven’t been ‘left behind’.

They choose to live on their land, in their own ways.

It’s crazy when these outsiders come and teach us development. Is development possible by destroying the environment that provides us food, water and dignity? You have to pay to take a bath, for food, and even to drink water. In our land, we don’t have to buy water like you, and we can eat anywhere for free. Lodu Sikaka, Dongria Kondh

We don’t want to go to the city and we don’t want to buy food. We get it free here. Malari Pusaka, Dongria Kondh

Life expectancy now is around 60 to 65 years. Before it was 80 to 90 years. It’s because before [our access to our forest was restricted] we ate tubers, fruits, and other forest products, whereas now the Soliga diet is bad. Madegowda, Soliga

You take us to be poor, but we’re not. We produce many kinds of grains with our own efforts, and we don’t need money. Baba Mahariya, Bhil

We say, ‘you don’t have to take care of us. We’ll take care of ourselves. We’ll lead our lives the way we know. Arjun Chandi, Majhi Kondh

We’ll lose our self esteem if they take away our hills and forests. Other Adivasis who have lost their homes are dying of desperation, they are being destroyed. Earlier they used to till their land but now they are only drinking without working. They have become kind of beggars. Lodu Sikaka, Dongria Kondh

The idea is to bring the Jarawa into the mainstream like they have done to us. Once the Jarawas are brought into the mainstream their plight will be just like ours. Nu, Great Andamanese

One-fifth of our tribal population is already on the street, nearly 20 million people lost, uprooted, displaced, wandering around. Ram Dayal Munda

Land is what will see us through, not only us but our children. We get two or three harvests a year. We are not dependent on anyone. We will not give up our land for anything in this world. S Pollanna, Ananthagiri

Tribal peoples are not primitive

Become part of the movement to challenge this prejudice and call for tribal peoples’ rights to their land to be protected across India.

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