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Indian Tribe’s Livelihood Threatened by Mining

Indian Tribe’s Livelihood Threatened by Mining

Editor’s Note: The following is a guest post from the good people over at Survival International. It addresses the timely issue of preventing a British mining company from threatening a sacred mountain in the Niyamgiri Hills of India — and the ancestral home of the Dongria Kondh hill tribe. Read about the issue, watch the video and sign the petition to help protect the land. 


By Joanna Eede, Survival International

High in the Niyamgiri Hills of Orissa, India, live the Dongria Kondh people. They call themselves Jharnia, the ‘protectors of streams,’  as for centuries they have cared for the mineral-rich rivers that rise within the surrounding forests.  

For the Dongria Kondh, the densely forested mountains of Niyamgiri are the inheritance of their children and the provider of food and shelter. For generations, the Dongria have grown the crops that sustain them and the wild fruit they trade on the hill-side slopes. The hills and forests are also the spiritual focus of their lives, for Niyam Dongar mountain is the seat of their greatest god, Niyam Raja. ‘Niyamgiri is our soul‘, they say.

For the London-based mining company, Vedanta Resources, however, the mountains are nothing more than a highly lucrative source of bauxite, the raw material for aluminium.  The company plans to open-pit mine this sacred space in the heart of the Dongria’s homeland.

The Dongria believe that the mine will destroy the forests, disrupt the rivers and pollute and desecrate their lands. And they know that it will spell the end of themselves as a distinct tribe, for separation from ancestral lands is, more often than not, catastrophic for tribal peoples. When control over land is lost, or when tribal peoples are prevented from using it in accordance with their traditions, the long-term mental and physical health of the people suffers hugely.  

‘Mining only makes profit for the rich,’ said one Dongria Kondh man. ‘We will become beggars if the company destroys our mountain and our forest so that they can make money.’

The Dongria are determined to protect their livelihood, their health, their identity and the sanctity of their most religious site.


Sign our petition to show you oppose mining in Dongria Kondh’s hills.

And watch the video.


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photo credit: Survival International

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6:57AM PDT on Oct 15, 2010

Of course, I’ll give my signature for this kind of cause because aluminium is certainly a very interesting and useful product but nothing is above the humanity. If a whole culture is threatened, we’ve to stop the mining first.
However, we, all of us all around the World, we can’t forget that, if this kind of threaten does appear against poorest, it is because on the other side of this same World, we are asking for always more goods, always more technological, always cheaper, always more abundant.
Of course, our signature here is necessary, but maybe we have other choices to be made somewhere else.

6:19AM PDT on Aug 29, 2010

thanks for sharing

11:08AM PDT on Aug 22, 2010

indigenous tribes got it right,.. not taking,.. always putting back,.. reaping what u sow,..
ancient knowledge and powers of healing have been lost for ever from western civiliasations greed for power,.
and money ,.. will always remain the root of all evil,..
we have the audacity to call ourelves civilised,.. and educated,.. and yet know matter hw educated or civilisd ,. we all follow the same rules,..
the law of karma will prevail,..

6:18PM PDT on Aug 4, 2010

Thanks for sharing this information.

10:07PM PDT on Jul 18, 2010


2:14PM PDT on Jul 15, 2010

thankyou for shareing Nicole

6:31PM PDT on Jul 14, 2010

More greed on the part of CIVILIZED nations. We need to recycle what we have and leave these poor people alone. They are kinder to the earth than the technologically advanced societies are. They are better stewards of the earth's resources and make better use of what is available without creating all the pollution of the industrialized nations. Shame on this company and the world for demanding such prices for our comfort or enjoyment all the while killing off one more piece of it's beauty and another group of peoples' way of life. They deserve to be left alone and the mountain should be left alone. It will only be a matter of time before we find out who won out and hopefully this petition will put some weight behind stopping this terrible injustice to this people and the land and mountain that they worship and adore.

1:12PM PDT on Jul 14, 2010

The most natural and in tune with nature and the environment are the natives. We're too civilized that we forget. THis needs to stop. The government needs to be held accountable. God said for her to take dominion overall the earth and creatures, which means we should not abuse our power!

10:08PM PDT on Jul 13, 2010

Hmmm. New century, same old greed. Have to really feel for any group of people who find themselves sitting on top of minerals. If it's in the ground, whatever it is, seems it's always far more valuable than whatever and whoever resides above it. "When the last tree has been cut down.........etc."

8:32PM PDT on Jul 13, 2010

We already killed most of them, destroyed their land and food sources, and forced them further and further west. We should leave them alone this time.

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