The Kondhs are the largest tribal group in Odisha, formerly Orissa.
Their culture centres on nature and sacred hills. Utkal Alumina is mining the 200m tons of bauxite under the Baphlimali hills, while the 8,000-plus Dongria Kondh on the Niyamgiri hills have lived under the threat of mining there by Vedanta Resources.
Image Credit: Photograph byJohann Rousselot /Survival International
In this June 23, 2015 photo, Yeni Casiano Barboza, 15, from the Ashaninka Indian community, Natividad, poses for a photo while waiting to compete in the annual beauty contest, in the Otari Nativo village, Pichari, Peru.
For Ashaninka men, a woman’s beauty is determined in part by her hair, her sense of humor, and whether she can cook a tasty cassava dish, according to some community members.
Gathered in the middle of the Amazon forest, the participants in the beauty contest wear the simple brown dresses of the Ashaninka indigenous woman, their faces dotted in a traditional design with a red dye extracted from a spice called achiote.
“The little red dots are my happiness,” said Beysi Anaya, a 17-year-old who won last month’s competition after traveling three hours by car from her native valley community of Sampantuari. She was crowned with a small straw hat featuring a long red feather.
It was the fifth beauty contest held among annual festivities marking the founding of the Ashaninka community of Otari Nativo, which is in a valley near the Apurimac, Ene and Mantaro rivers in the world’s largest coca-growing region.
The Ashaninka people number in the tens of thousands and live mostly in the rainforests of Peru.
In this June 23, 2015 photo, Ashaninka Indian school children parade with torches during festivities celebrating the 44th anniversary of their village, in Otari Nativo, Pichari, Peru.
The village is located in a valley near the Apurimac, Ene and Mantaro rivers in the world’s largest coca growing region.
In addition to the standard Ashaninka dress, the contestants also showed off a shorter, midriff-baring summer version that can be used for swimming. Multiple strands of colored beads crisscrossed their chest like bandoliers.
Other activities included an archery competition for men and women as well as a contest for drinking the fermented juice of the cassava root.
The community’s men smoked large amounts of meat for festival-goers to eat.
Photo: Rodrigo Abd, AP
For Ashaninka men, a woman’s beauty is determined in part by her hair — the longer, the better — and whether she can cook a tasty cassava dish, said community member and translator Marishori Samaniego.
A sense of humor is also important in determining attractiveness, said psychologist Leslie Villapolo, who has worked with the Ashaninka.
A replica of Captain Cook’s ship in Sydney: ‘The marks of Indigenous civilisation stretching to 60,000 years were all over this continent when Cook arrived.’ Photograph: The Sydney Morning Herald/Fairfax Media via Getty Images
A quarter of a century to the day since the high court overturned the proposition of terra nullius in the Mabo case, it’s worth contemplating just how laughable was the British assertion that this land belonged to no one when Captain Cook sailed in.
Terra nullius is a Latin expression deriving from Roman law meaning “nobody’s land”, which is used in international law to describe territory which has never been subject to the sovereignty of any state, or over which any prior sovereign has expressly or implicitly relinquished .
The marks of Indigenous civilisation stretching to 60,000 years were all over this vast continent when Cook arrived at Kamay – now Botany Bay – aboard the Endeavour in autumn 1770.
For starters, some 750,000 Indigenous people lived here and their elaborate life signs – shell middens as high as today’s city buildings, age-old tracks, multi-generational camps, boats traversing the waterway trade routes, scarred trees from which canoes had been cut, elaborate rock carvings and paintings, fire-controlled grasslands, ancient burial grounds – prevailed.
It was a prescient first contact ahead of the first fleet invasion in 1788: Cook’s men shot at least one Gweagal tribesman and stole traditional weapons that remain, today, in the British Museum.
In Cook’s cabin were his secret instructions from the British admiralty that read, in part: “You are … with the Consent of the Natives to take Possession of Convenient Situations in the Country in the Name of the King of Great Britain: Or: if you find the Country uninhabited take Possession for his Majesty by setting up Proper Marks and Inscriptions.”
Yes … “with the Consent of the Natives …” Which one of those Gweagal tribesmen or women said: “Sure, Captain – take it all”?
Cook claimed the lot, nonetheless.It’s never been clear if the high court in Mabo v Queensland (No 2) carefully considered the admiralty’s instructions to Cook in determining that the Meriam people of the Torres Strait held traditional ownership of their land and that native title, therefore, applied to all Indigenous people.
But implicit in those secret instructions is the implication that the land, if inhabited, was someone else’s for the asking.
It underscores, in part, the vast, almost comic, absurdist fiction of the convenient notion of some Australian terra nullius – “nobody’s land” – that endured for so long after invasion and occupation.