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Indigenous and tribal people’s rights over their ancestral lands and natural resources

03 March, 2009 | por admin

Indigenous and tribal people’s rights over their ancestral lands and natural resources

Norms and jurisprudence of the Inter‐American human rights system

2009

Indigenous and tribal peoples have unique ways of life, and their worldview is based on their close relationship with land. The lands they traditionally use and occupy are critical to their physical, cultural and spiritual vitality. This unique relationship to traditional territory may be expressed in different ways, depending on the particular indigenous people involved and its specific circumstances; it may include traditional use or presence, maintenance of sacred or ceremonial sites, settlements or sporadic cultivation, seasonal or nomadic gathering, hunting and fishing, the customary use of natural resources or other elements characterizing indigenous or tribal culture. As the Inter‐American Court of Human Rights has pointed out, “for indigenous communities, relations to the land are not merely a matter of possession and production but a material and spiritual element which they must fully enjoy, even to preserve their cultural legacy and transmit it to future generations.” “[T]o guarantee the right of indigenous peoples to communal property, it is necessary to take into account that the land is closely linked to their oral expressions and traditions, their customs and languages, their arts and rituals, their knowledge and practices in connection with nature, culinary art, customary law, dress, philosophy, and values.”

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