A powerful and diverse collection of voices from around the globe have come together in a new book, “Decolonize Conservation: Global Voices for Indigenous Self-determination, Land, and a World in Common”, published on April 25, by Common Notions. Many of the contributors are on the frontlines of the clash between “fortress conservation” and the Indigenous and local communities whose lands are being stolen and lives ruined. The book is an indispensable tool for anyone involved in conservation, from on-the-ground practitioners to NGO staff and academics.
Co-edited by Ashley Dawson and Survival International’s Fiore Longo, the book gathers testimonies from the ground-breaking 2021 conference “Our Land, Our Nature” (OLON) in Marseille, France. Indigenous and non-Indigenous activists, representatives and speakers from around 18 countries shared evidence and first-hand testimonies of racist conservation atrocities and land theft, as well as presented an alternative model that respects human rights and the environment.
The book will be launched tomorrow at the third OLON conference, in New York City.
One of the contributors, Kipchumba Rotich from the Sengwer people in Kenya, said: “Indigenous people are best placed to preserve their lands. Conservation funding has been used for evictions rather than for conservation. It has been used to perpetrate ethnocide against us. If we lose our forests, we lose our culture. We will become extinct. We need our forests.”
Another contributor, Pranab Doley from the Mising people in India, said: “We condemn the conservation industry. It doesn’t embody the emotions, needs, and political will of local and Indigenous communities—people who are actually the stewards of the natural world and who must be the central voice devising any policies. We must challenge this capitalist model that attempts to commodify and destroy our forests and lands.”
Fiore Longo, one of the co-editors, said: “These voices, together with those of other non-Indigenous experts and activists gathered in this book, challenge one of the most deeply embedded Western myths of the last centuries—the myth of “conservation.“”
Note to Editors:
- The book will be published on April 25 and is available to pre-order from the publisher, Common Notions.
- For press, stocking the book or events, please contact Survival International at [email protected]
- Survival’s conservation campaigners Fiore Longo and Sophie Grig are available for interview.