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Guest Lecture: Killing' ot Lembikas, "When Pastoralism Meets Conservation: Challenges to the Maasai Way of Life"

  • Date: Sunday, May 6, 2018
  • Time: 7:00 pm
  • Location: Valders Hall of Science, Room 206

Lembikas is a warrior of the Maasai tribe, a people whose culture developed around herding cattle, sheep and goats on the grasslands of East Africa. Since 2011, Lembikas has worked with Luther students and faculty as a cultural guide and interpreter for January Term programs based in northern Tanzania. Luther groups have been hosted by Lembikas and his extended family at their boma, or homestead, in the savanna region just east of Serengeti National Park where Maasai, their livestock, and wildlife have long co-existed. Recently Maasai have been excluded from large areas of the savanna following the creation of zones established exclusively for wildlife conservation and trophy hunting, resulting in adverse effects on the pastoralists’ livelihood, culture and environment. 

In his talk Lembikas will explain and discuss the role of pastoralism in the Maasai culture. Both the expansion of agriculture and the establishment of conservation reserves pose a serious challenge to the Maasai livelihood, culture and environment. Lembikas will focus on the resulting tensions, with special emphasis on the violence surrounding land conflicts in Loliondo where Lembikas's homestead is located.

Lembikas holds a Bachelor of Education in English and history from the University of Arusha and a certificate in Child Development and Protection from The Foundation for Tomorrow. He teaches English, geography, vocational skills and personality development at Amani Primary School, an English medium school near Arusha. He has served on the boards of non-governmental organizations and worked with students, faculty and researchers from colleges and universities in the United States and Europe. He recently assisted with the UNESCO-funded People, Wildlife and Sustainable Development Project based in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. In 2015, Lembikas was a lecturer-in-residence in Austria where he spoke about Maasai culture, social change, development and wildlife at colleges and high schools across the country.           

During his three-week residency in Decorah, Lembikas will speak with students in a variety of classes at Luther and Decorah Community Schools. After leaving Decorah, he will travel to Holden Village in Washington state where he will join Holden’s summer teaching staff. His time in the U.S. is made possible through the Center for Sustainable Communities with additional support from Luther’s Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work Department.