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The Healers of Chhattisgarh 

Indigenous healers in Central India are struggling in the face of legal and environmental challenges. When the Forest Rights Act was passed in India in 2006, it was identified as an ‘act to recognise and vest the forest rights and occupation in forest land in forest-dwelling Scheduled Tribes and other traditional forest dwellers, who have been residing in such forests for generations but whose rights could not be recorded . . .’

The law also admitted that ‘the forest rights on ancestral lands and their habitat were not adequately recognised in the consolidation of State forests during the colonial period as well as in independent India resulting in historical injustice to the forest dwelling Scheduled Tribes and other traditional forest dwellers, who are integral to the very survival and sustainability of the forest ecosystem.”

Despite this legislative recognition, the lives of the indigenous people of India – who largely depend on forests for their livelihood – have not been easy. The traditional medicine people of the central state of Chhattisgarh, for example, are struggling to maintain their way of life in the face of legal and environmental challenges.

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