A Dying Indigenous Village of Lo

By Tunga Bhadra Rai and Tsering Wangmo Gurung
16 / 04 / 2024
Image credit: Tsering Wangmo Gurung

This article summarizes a story of a dying Indigenous village of Lo the Upper Mustang in Nepal. The Sam Dzong village in Lo, one of the ancestral villages of Loba Indigenous People, faces water scarcity, forcing its people to abandon their homeland. People of this centuries-old village are left with no option but to resettle themselves in new location named Namashung. People face dilemmas in this new place. The recollections of their childhood, traits and teaching of their ancestors, and treasure of their homeland keeps following them; the memories of their properties left back in ancestral homeland become priceless for the people who have moved to Namashung. Despite the fact that this new place is relatively in safer place in terms of natural disaster, relocated people feel many things missing in their life. They try to fulfil such emptiness they feel in absence of their ancestral belongings. However, they are unable to repair the loss and damage of their homeland nor fulfil the emptiness they go through. They are left with unrepairable loss of a way of life treasured by the Loba Indigenous People of Sam Dzong. This is a sad reality of climate crisis in Sam Dzong. This is just one of many cases of climate change-induced loss and damage to Indigenous Peoples of Nepal.

The authors' anthropological field work, including participant observation, key informant interviews and focused group discussions carried out in 2019 and 2023, focused on exchanges with Loba knowledge holders in different occasions, lays the foundation of knowledge shared in this article.

Above all, this article extends due recognition to the fact that Loba Indigenous People hold unique knowledge systems and lifeways, and disclaims any misappropriation of any piece of the Loba knowledge and practices presented in this article.

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