Odisha’s Social activist Prafulla Samantra was announced one of six winners of the Goldman Environmental Prize, in San Francisco, Monday.
The Goldman Environmental Foundation salutes environmental heroes from each of the world’s six inhabited continents annually and recognizes grassroots activists for significant achievement to protect the environment and their communities.
An iconic leader of social justice movements in India, Samantara led a historic 12-year legal battle that affirmed the indigenous Dongria Kondh’s land rights and protected the Niyamgiri Hills from a massive, open-pit aluminum ore mine, by Vedanta.
The thick forest lands of Niyamgiri Hills are of vital importance to the Dongria Kondh, an 8,000-member indigenous tribe with deep ties to the surrounding environment.
The Dongria are renowned fruit farmers with an encyclopedic knowledge of the forest’s medicinal plants.