The Katkari are a tribal group of indigenous hunter gatherers who live in the Indian state of Maharashtra. Their ongoing survival is threatened by years of systemic exploitation, racial prejudice, abject poverty and loss of their traditional lands.
As a hunter gatherer people, they are traditionally reliant on non cultivated wild foods and forest products which are becoming increasingly scarce due to deforestation and development. Efforts to improve food production through agriculture are impeded by their extremely limited access to land.
Despite a long history of settlement in the area, the state has never formally recognised nor given them title to much of their traditional lands, robbing them of self-determination and making them vulnerable to encroachment by land developers. Severe malnutrition and starvation are realities in many villages today, with life expectancy falling and their unique culture under threat. Many work as ‘bonded labourers’, an institutionalised form of slavery that forces them to toil in brick works for extremely poor wages under sub-human conditions.
Excerpted from the “The Plight of the Katkari – Indigenous nomads of India” (DOC)
You can learn more about the Katkari at http://www.rainforestinfo.org.au/katkari/index.html