Growing up Maasai and the art of healing the Earth

By Benji Jones
March 16, 2022

The world is crafting a plan to save nature. Will Indigenous people get a say?

For some Indigenous Maasai tribes in Kenya, birdwatching is not so much a leisure activity as it is a survival tactic. The sight of an oxpecker, a gray and white bird with vivid yellow eyes, often indicates that dangerous water buffalos roam nearby. Meanwhile, the brown flash of a honeyguide bird might be the ticket to a calorie-dense meal — these birds can literally guide humans to honey.

The honeyguides and oxpeckers of the world illustrate a key tenet of Indigenous knowledge, according to Kimaren ole Riamit, a member of the Maasai community in Kenya. “Nature takes care of us when we take care of it,” said ole Riamit, who has on several occasions followed honeyguides to beehives.

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