Politics of Conservation, Moral Ecology and Resistance by the Sonaha Indigenous Minorities of Nepal
Lives of marginalised indigenous Sonaha people who are customarily engaged in small-scale fishing and panning of gold dusts in the Karnali River delta, lowland Nepal, have come under the pressures of imposed conservation regime. This chapter examines the hitherto unexplored Sonaha moral ecology in the light of the consequences emanating from an exclusionary state conservation and associated Sonaha resistance in the contested riverscape. The Sonaha moral ecology that encompasses complex cultural meanings and fosters customary livelihoods, I argue, challenges the strict conservation view of environmental sustainability, and is marginalised by powerful conservation discourse and practices. The chapter contributes to the politics of modern conservation and marginalisation of indigenous peoples and calls for an appreciation of indigenous moral ecology towards reconciling indigenous justice and conservation.