Research Mentor: Kelly Askew, PhD

UROP Research Team:

Tala Alahmar and Isabella Crow

Research Team:

  • Hawine Eticha (pictured)
  • Demitria Wetzka
  • Sanovia Weje
  • Amelia Burke

What is your research project?

Human Rights and Indigenous Rights in Africa

What are the goals of your research project?

Indigenous Africa is an online platform and research project that aims to demonstrate an awareness of various conflicts arising among indigenous communities throughout Africa. These conflicts include conservation projects, urban expansion, farmer-herder disputes, and several other conflicts that contribute to the displacement and loss of lifestyle of indigenous peoples. Our team is making continuous efforts to gain exposure for our website and keep people informed about emerging problems in pastoralist communities, including through conference attendance at the annual United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Peoples Issues, social media, and through our student organization on campus.

Why is this research important?

Indigenous peoples across Africa experience discrimination and lack of respect for their rights to land, territory, resources, self-determination, and human rights. The violations we present are rarely covered by the mainstream news, and because of the sensitive nature of these situations involving discrimination and prejudice against indigenous peoples, efforts are often taken to keep information hidden from international audiences. Through careful and comprehensive research, we bring these cases to light and encourage action towards justice for those whose voices are often suppressed.

What drives you to conduct this research?

When I joined the project my freshman year, I wanted to learn more about how vastly spread indigenous people are in Africa. This led me to research groups living in several countries, from Amazigh in Morocco to Mbororo in Cameroon. I learned to center my research around the history and the lives of indigenous people and craft cases expressing the hidden side of these stories. Throughout my three years working on this project, I've helped publish numerous cases on these injustices and violations against indigenous people throughout Africa. Highlighting these cases and prioritizing their reach to a global audience has the potential to raise awareness on this issue and mitigate the injustice targeting indigenous people in Africa, which is a big component of what drives me to conduct this research.

Is there a Call to Action you would like to encourage?

Access our website at and engage with us on social media @IndigenousAFR

What resources would you recommend to learn more about your research topic?

Our website features all of our cases and we are constantly updating and publishing new cases. You can use the easily navigable and interactive map feature to access information on violations against indigenous peoples throughout the continent.