Tanzania: Government Plans to Evict Maasai from Indigenous Lands

Maasai woman holding a sign saying, “We are unable to pay for education of our children. We do not have any source of income.”
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Image: A Maasai woman holding a sign saying, “We are unable to pay for education of our children. We do not have any source of income.” Credit: Navaya James Ndaskoi

“UNESCO and Tanzania’s plan is detrimental not only to the Maasai but also for the conservation of wildlife. It is a repeat of the myopic actions of the British colonial government, and our challenges have continued.” “We, Ngorongoro residents do not have food. We are permanently starving because of bad policies.” — Maasai Elders

Oakland, California — Years of restrictions imposed in the name of “conservation” have driven an ongoing hunger crisis for Indigenous pastoralist communities living within the Ngorongoro Conservation Area in Tanzania. Now, at the behest of UNESCO World Heritage Centre and other international conservation agencies, the Tanzanian government is moving forward with a new plan that threatens the continued survival of the Maasai on the land they have sustainably stewarded for centuries.

Focused on bolstering tourism revenues, the plan proposes the eviction of tens of thousands of Maasai pastoralists and would decimate the livelihoods of those remaining.

The impacted communities have made it clear what needs to be done to end their suffering and ensure the ecological health of Ngorongoro. The communities, however, have been repeatedly sidelined and ignored. The Indigenous residents of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area urgently need international support to elevate their demands directly to UNESCO and the Tanzanian government. With enough momentum, they cannot be ignored.

For more information on the proposed evictions, see the Oakland Institute report: The Looming Threat of Eviction.

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