Can you imagine fighting for your homes and your very way of life for over 14 years!? That is just what happened to the people of a small community on Rendova Island. In 2000 a big logging company moved in and started a mass demolition of the forest… the problem is that this community lived in the forest and the loggers were literally destroying their homes and their very way of life. For 14 years there has been a battle in their court system over who has the rights to the land- the loggers or the people who live there. However, after 14 long years the people of the small community FINALLY won their court case and the big logging companies have to stop destroying their island! Here are some pictures with descriptions from one of the islands local residents!
“Technically no one should decides who owns the land because families have owned it for ages. Think of it like game of thrones. People just know that the the land belongs to that family. However there have been disputes lately so they have set up a tribal court. The chiefs will decide who owns the land but you must bring your case and they will decide. “The logging company has no right. Our land is inherited by women in our tribe and to mark this, a bracelet is passed on from one generation to the next.”
“Our fresh water river where we bathe, get water and wash clothes”
“there is so much more here than people realize. The logging company got rid of a significant amount of our meat because the animals had to relocate. They polluted the waters and fish is one of our main meats.”
“The battle for the rights of our land have been going on forever. The local people will do their best to destroy the logging company’s machines to stop them further advancing. Think of the blue avatar people in the movie avatar. This is a wreckage from a truck that was destroyed by my people against the logging company.”
“I think what happened was my people really got frustrated. Living in the western world really put into perspective how much this equipment cost and I do sympathize with the logging company on that part. However, they shouldn’t have been allowed there in the first place and because of corruption within the government and the logging company exploiting some of the local people who don’t own the land they were able to come in. The court case dragged on for a good 14 years till it came to an end and I think in the end the people were getting frustrated that justice wasn’t been served and decided to take matters into their own hands.”
“I didn’t say what we did was right but I guess my people saw it as necessary. There are 2 sides to every story. The logging people were probably trying to just to their job and we were trying to protect our very home. It’s hard to say who is right because it’s such a grey area. I hope this answers your question.”
“My mum with a tree they pulled down. The story behind this was there was a bulldozer (I think?) they stole and they put salt water in the engines to destroy it. My mum was taking a picture with the log they pulled down.”
“There’s only picture but there is a ridiculous amount of forest that is gone. A complete bay is gone. I think if the logging had been more slower and sustainable, it would have been ok but the amount of land they logged has been ridiculous. Another problem was there were people actually living in the place. They straight up tore people’s homes (my family’s) which is why they got even more angry.”
Now that they have won their case, the people of Rendova Island can let the land start to heal itself and start living their lives again. Here are some more pictures of island life:
Hand Carving some wood with that tool in his hand!
Big Cassava plant
Make Sure To Share Her Amazing Victory With Your Friends!