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- The 'development' of tribal peoples against their wishes — really to let others get their land and resources — is rooted in 19th century colonialism ('We know best') dressed up in 20th century 'political correct' euphemism. Tribal peoples are not backward: they are independent and vibrant societies which, like all of us always, are constantly adapting to a changing world. The main difference between tribal peoples and us is that we take their land and resources, and believe the dishonest, even racist, claim that it's for their own good. It's conquest, not development.
- There you go! by Oren Ginzburg, Foreword
- Why do people think that tribal people' cultures are inferior? In the Third World there is a truly startling paradox when you compare these people with most others. Take Amazonia, for example, where traditional Indians live well in confortable dwellings — warm at night and cool in the day. They eat well — a varied and healthy diet. They live in a close community where loneliness is unknown. And they do it all on 3 or 4 hours of work a day, or less, and have plenty of time for playing with their children, for contemplating philosophy, cosmology and religion, for externalising whatever answers they find through profound rituals which make many of our own seem shallow and meaningless.
Compare this life with the lot of the Third World poor who supposedly benefit from 'civilization' and who are by and large growing poorer daily in spite of the billions in aid. Their children are working 15 to 16 hour days. They are badly nourished. Serious disease is rife and western technological medicine largely unobtainable. Infant mortality high, life expectancy low, alcohol and drug abuse common — social breakdown is often the norm in the shanty towns where life comes and goes on the cheap.
The resource extraction, the dam building, most of the so called 'development' going on in these countries benefits neither the tribal peoples whose lands are destroyed in the process, nor the vast majority of the nations's citizens, the poor and needy. The ones who profit are, of course, the wealthy — and the governments are always wealthy — and the foreign companies.
- Paul Ekins (1992) A new world order: grassroots movements for global change, Routledge, 1992. p.81
- Peoples' rights are fundamental to development.
- Development must respect indigenous people's rights, Speech to the Royal Society of Arts