`Rautes’ visit capital to ensure their nomadic rights

02 Jan 2009

image`Rautes’ visit capital to ensure their nomadic rights

A group of six `Rautes’, the nomadic tribe from the western Nepal hills, completed their week long visit to Kathmandu in early January. During their high profile tour to the capital, they met with President Ram Baran Yadav, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Chairman of Constitution Assembly Subhash Nembang and Finance Minister Babu Ram Bhattarai.

The visit was supported jointly by Contemporary Vision and National Foundation for Development of Indigenous Nationalities (NFDIN).

The UNDP GEF Small Grants Programme has supported Contemporary Vision to implement the Conservation of Raute Culture through Livelihood Improvement project.

“This capital tour has been very fruitful” said Ain Bhadur Shahi, Assistant Chieftain (Mukhiya) of the group. After the visit, the Government increased their monthly subsistence allowance from Rs. 500 to Rs. 1,000 per household and assured to formulate a policy for the ‘Rautes’ to access soft wood from the forests. The policy is expected to encourage conservation while at the same time- give a source of living for the `Rautes.’

`Rautes’ are the only nomadic indigenous community in the country. According to their traditional culture, they do not stay in one place nor do they send theirchildren to school. Their own rules forbid them to practice agriculturebut they make beautiful wooden utensils and furniture (bed) from light wood. As per their culture they do not sell but barter their productsfor food grain. As a primitive mode of life, they only hunt monkeys anddo not harm any other wild animals and bird.