The Lion Guardians would like to say a very big THANK YOU and SEASON’S GREETINGS to all! It has once again been a very busy but extremely successful year! NO LIONS KILLED in the areas where the Lion Guardians work!
We are extremely grateful to the communities of Mbirikani, Eselenkei and Oglulului, for working with us to protect their lions, and for ensuring that no lions are killed on their ranches. We would also like to thank our local partners, Maasailand Preservation Trust, Kenya Wildlife Service, Kenya Wildlife Trust, Amboseli Trust for Elephants, Porini camps and Ol Donyo Lodge.
2012 is going to be an exciting year as well. Lion Guardians is expanding into Tanzania. Stay tuned for updates!
We would like to once again thank all of our blog readers and facebook fans who have donated in 2011. We are grateful to each and every one of you. We would also like to thank Panthera, Defenders of Wildlife, Rufford Small Grants, Africa Alive, and Eco-Sys Action for their continuing support of Lion Guardians.
We also owe great thanks to our Lion Guardians Sponsors whose are helping us continue our operations by covering the costs associated with 16 of our 30 Lion Guardians.
Kate N (x2)
Kenya Wildlife Trust (x6)
Parker and Annie B (x2)
Loula and Bo A (x2) and
THANK YOU TO ALL OUR FANTASTIC SUPPORTERS!
We hope you have a wonderful holiday!
The Lion Guardian Team
I have been reading your blog for a couple of years, so I have seen the funny picture once or twice already. I haven’t commented before, but I every time I see it on your blog, it makes me uneasy. That picture sends such a bunch of conflicting messages all at once that I don’t know how to take it.
The background theme is typical in traditional Christmas post cards, which every year spread snow all over the globe, evoking an odd mix of pseudo-nostalgia. You know, when the Romans came to our corner of the world to convert us to Christianity, they appropriated our old mid-winter yuletide (see wikipedia for Yule) celebration, giving it a new name and some additional decoration, but leaving it essentially the same at core. In the centuries that followed, additional layers of decoration have been added on top, and somehow snow themes have began to dominate a big part of the imagery. The celebration though is still the same: in mid-winter, we still hunker together with close family, eat well, rest well and enjoy cultural activities such as reading books. The biggest difference to what we had before Romans came is that now we have TV to watch (and to teach us behave more uniformly than ever before).
Set atop of the background, then, I see a person in ethnically distinct outfit. I have no problem with the character. I have no problem with the combination of the ethnic character and the modern equipment either. However, when I see any ethnic character on top of the snowy-starry background, which in itself is culturally biased in so many ways, alarm bells start ringing in my head. You see, in my nick of the woods, the ethnic characters that are printed on such post-cards are Sami (see wikipedia for Sami people) – in their own, naturally snowy-starry homeland. Except that all too often the figures are not genuine, but Finns or Swedes of Norwegians dressed up as Sami (see recent CNN video on lapland vs. sapmiland – sorry, I could not add the url here because of spam prevention). By age, I have come to abhor such exploitation of the paraphernalia of Sami culture by tourism industry.
Every year when you post the picture, it always sends an electric shock through my spine. Every year I have to sit down and think of it more carefully. Since this picture advertises Lion Guardians, surely it is not abusing Maasai insignia for the purposes of tourism industry. Right? It is a funny picture that combines different cultural elements to signify how connected we are, and thereby celebrates the cultural mess that we call Internet. Right? No matter how much I keep munching it, I see no intentional or unintentional abuse or insult or offense of any kind in the pic. Yet, every year I have to go through this process over and over again. It still leaves me uneasy. Why?
PS. I find the Wiki page on Sami people, despite all the inevitable inaccuracies, somewhat less biased than the wiki page on Maasai people. Some of you guys might want to contribute.
Merry Christmas to all at the Lion Guardians! Please especially pass on my best wishes to Kamunu, his family and village on Eselenkei. I look forward to continuing my support in 2012.
Timi, have a glass or 2 of wine!
It’s been fantastic to be able to support the Lion Guardians since 2008 and to have been able to visit the project in 2010 made me even more committed to support your work. It’s so important to have the project expand to Tanzania. I hope to be able to visit Amboseli in 2012, but it most likely won’t be in march, but later during the year. Will keep you posted. Please forward my best wishes to everybody who are working to save the threatened Kenyan lion population.