5 Colo. J. Int'l Envtl. L. & Pol'y 149 (1994)
Indigenous Peoples and the Environment: The Case of the Pastorial Maasai of Kenya

handle is hein.journals/colenvlp5 and id is 157 raw text is: Indigenous Peoples And The
Environment: The Case Of The
Pastoral Maasai Of Kenya
Joy K. Asiemat
Francis D. P. Situmatt
I. INTRODUCTION
A definition of indigenous peoples is notoriously elusive, despite
the fact indigenous peoples consider themselves to be distinct peoples. A
great variety and number of communities in the world are referred to or
refer to themselves as indigenous peoples.) National minorities, nomadic
peoples, and displaced peoples have been referred to as indigenous, par-
ticularly where they have been subjected to discrimination, exploitation,
dispossession of their lands, and relocation. Isolated or marginalized
groups that have not been subjected to, or subjugated by, colonialism have
also been referred to as indigenous because of their historic presence on a
particular territory, their preservation of ancestral customs, or their incor-
poration into a state with different national, social, and cultural charac-
teristics from their own.2
Despite these varied definitions, indigenous peoples can be collective-
ly described as people descending from the original inhabitants of an area
that has been taken over by more powerful outsiders, with a distinct
language, culture, or religion. Most think of themselves as custodians-not
owners-of their land and other resources and partly define themselves by
reference to the habitat from which they derive their livelihood. They
commonly live in, or maintain strong ties to, a subsistence economy; many
either are, or are descendants of, hunter-gatherers, fishers, nomadic or
t Lecturer at the Kenya School of Law in Nairobi, Kenya, and attorney for the firm
of Hamilton Harrison & Mathews, Advocates.
  Candidate for a Ph.D. at the Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy at Tufts
University in Medford, Mass.
1. Russell L. Barsh, Indigenous Peoples, an Emerging Object of International
Law, 80 AM. J. INT'L L. 369, 373-375 (1986).
2. Id.

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