This Land is Their Land: How Indigenous Peoples are Crucial to Modern Species Conservation

About the Scholar: Max Podell grew up in the United States and attends Piedmont High School in Piedmont, California, USA.

The Research:
Max’s research notes that, despite indigenous people’s vast and deep knowledge of successful, localized conservation methods, governments often leave out indigenous people from these conversations, missing out on critical knowledge. He argues that, in order for government’s conservation programs to succeed, they must involve indigenous people in the decision and policy making process.

Using case studies of different countries managing various species conservation policies, Max demonstrates that indigenous people’s knowledge is simply too essential to leave out, and that without their buy in, even the best-intended policies will surely fail. If indigenous people do not feel respected and heard, they are unlikely to follow orders from a government they see as disrespectful outsiders. However, by working with indigenous people, governments can utilize rich expertise and ensure mutual cooperation toward this important goal.