The Maasai, an indigenous ethnic group in East Africa, has been fending off foreign powers and fighting to preserve their culture for over a century. In the 19th and 20th centuries, they had to contend with colonizers. Now, in the 21st century, it’s powerful business interests and their own national governments.

Over the last few months, years of conflict in Tanzania are coming to a head as the government tries to force tens of thousands of indigenous Maasai people to relocate from their ancestral rangelands in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area.

Government officials claim that the Ngorongoro region is overpopulated, and moving the Maasai is for the protection of the conservation area from the impact of the tribe and their cattle herds. Advocates argue that this is fallacious, not to mention colonial. 

“Indigenous [communities] have been living there for generations. These territories are now important nature conservation areas precisely because the original inhabitants took such good care of their land and wildlife,” Fiore Longo, a research and advocacy officer at the indigenous rights group Survival International, said in a press release

So how did we get here?