At the intersection between beekeeping and dispossession: an analysis of Ogiek eco-cultural resilience from Nessuit and Mariashoni in the East Mau Forest
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Land upholds and defines the survival of indigenous populations’ cultural distinctiveness and their unique characteristics and transcends economic value. The identity and resilience of indigenous communities is based on specific values and practices which are determined by the interaction between their cultural system and their natural environment. In spite of this, indigenous people have historically been subject to systematic uncertainty regarding land possession. In this thesis, I explore the value of the cultural and environmental practices of the Ogiek of Nessuit and Mariashoni, an indigenous group native to the Mau Forest, Kenya. Specifically, I aim to understand the practices the Ogiek develop within their communities that strengthen and support their cultural and environmental resilience. These practices are analysed through the lens of eco-cultural resilience, which is based on the symbiotic relationship between an indigenous community and its natural environment. Additionally, this research takes place against the backdrop of pervasive historical landlessness, deforestation and encroachment. Such conditions highlight the importance of understanding Ogiek cultural and environmental practices that create eco-cultural resilience against destabilising intervention, in Nessuit and Mariashoni.