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Land, Culture and Identity

Land is a significant communal asset. Most societies have beliefs regarding property that determine the actions of individual members. The aboriginal people, for instance, hold a spiritual connection with the land. Thus, it does not only influence their cultural values but also determines their ability. Different movements concerned with the conservation of the land and the natural environment also portray the Earth’s surface as a resource that shapes the cultural beliefs of a community. The untenable connection between people and land do not only dictate their values and beliefs but also influence their identity.

To understand the culture of any community, it is imperative that the issue of land is taken into consideration. According to Elverum, the environmental landscape and its intrinsic features, including rivers, influence the spirituality and culture of a society within said territory (25). Communities experience the feelings of protection and serenity because their ancestors lived in various places on the land. Communal property has also been associated with healing following the belief that spirits can be heard and felt in certain areas. Thus, land influences the religious beliefs and values of a community, defining their identity.

Social movements designed to conserve the land have been influenced by the belief that the resource defines the beliefs and ideologies of a community. The green belt movement, for instance, focused on preservation of the environment with the goal of community development and capacity building (Elverum 45). The idea was informed by the connection between the land and the people. Thus, conservation of the land can translate to preservation of the culture and identities, promoting development. Land is a natural resource that is intrinsically connected with the cultural values, beliefs, and identity of the people in a community. Certain areas have been inhabited by the same peoples for generations. Many communities believe the places where they live allow them to communicate with their ancestors and spirits. Therefore, conservation movements have not only environmental but also cultural significance.

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