Online Santal Resource Page: the Santals identity, clans, living places, culture,rituals, customs, using of herbal medicine, education, traditions ...etc and present status.

The Santal Resource Page: these are all online published sources

Santal Gãota reaḱ onolko ńam lạgit́ SRP khon thoṛ̣a gõṛ̃o ńamoḱa mente ińaḱ pạtiạu ar kạṭić kurumuṭu...

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Don’t Destroy Indigenous People’s Homes and Farms!

Cultural Survival encourages children and teens to learn about Indigenous peoples, especially how Indigenous communities organize to defend their rights and protect their lands. Sometimes, when governments and companies are not respecting their rights, Indigenous Peoples ask us to help them by writing letters.

Right now, a British company wants to make one of the world’s largest coal mines in the Asian country of Bangladesh. If they get the government’s permission, they will bulldoze 12,000 acres of farmland to dig out the coal. The company will force 130,000 people to move off their land, and they won’t give them new lands to farm. Indigenous people have lived on this land for 5,000 years. Their sacred groves and springs and burial grounds are there, and they don’t want to leave. They are asking us to help them convince the government to say “no” to the coal mine and “yes” to human rights. Will you write a letter to the prime minister of Bangladesh today?

Bangladesh, a small country on the east side of India, is one of the poorest countries in the world. Almost half the people there don’t get enough food to eat every day. Most of the land is close to sea level and it gets flooded every time there’s a big storm or a cyclone in the Bay of Bengal. Rice and other food crops grow best on higher land, like the farms in Phulbari in northwest Bangladesh. Indigenous peoples like the Santal and Munda have grown food in Phulbari for 5,000 years.

Now a British company called Global Coal Management Resources wants to destroy 12,000 acres of farmland and make all the people move off the land so they can make a coal mine there. They will pay the people, but they won’t give them land where they can farm because there is no land available. A Santal mother whose village would be destroyed by the mine explained, “Everywhere here is open space. The kids like to run around. We women work together in the fields and in the village. We have ducks and hens we can sell. We are happy here. If they make us move, how will we live? No, no. We don’t want the mine.”

If the company gets permission from the Bangladesh government, they will move 130,000 people off the land. Then they will dig huge open pits 1,000 feet deep to take out the coal. The air and water for miles around will become polluted with toxic dust. More dangerous pollution will be caused by burning the coal to produce electricity.

The rest of the coal will be shipped to other countries, and that is another problem. The coal barges will travel constantly up and down the rivers and through a very important forest: the Sundarbans mangrove forest. This is a very fragile habitat for endangered species like the Bengal tiger. With so many coal barges moving through the mangroves day and night, the danger of accidents and oil spills is very high.

Will you help the Santal, Munda, and other Indigenous people convince their government to say “no” to the Phulbari coal mine?
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