Cultural Survival Quarterly Magazine

Ways of Knowing: Experience, Knowledge, and Power among the Dene Tha

Jean-Guy Goulet's Ways of Knowing is a vivid account of the Dene Tha, a community of Northern Athabaskan natives living in the settlement of Chateh in northern Alberta. The book focuses on how the Dene Tha have reconciled indigenous and Euro-Canadian forms of knowledge after a history of missionaries, discriminatory policies, and oil and natural gas exploitation.

Update on the U'wa Medical Fund: A Collaborative Project of Cultural Survival

The U'wa Medical Fund was established in September of 1998 in response to the hospitalization and treatment of Berito Kubaruwa (Berito Cobaría), then president of the U'wa Traditional Authority, for tuberculosis. Mr. Kubaruwa campaigns internationally for the rights of the U'wa people of Colombiato, and self-determination, in the face of oil development.

Thoughts on the Selangor River Dam: Orang Asli and the Politics of Indigenousness in Malaysia

Early in January this year, 75 Temuan families living on the banks of the Selangor River in Malaysia learned that their land was in danger of being submerged by the construction of a dam. The Selangor State Government had already taken the first steps by granting permission to developers to conduct a feasibility study for the project.

The Life of Our Language: Kaqchikel Maintenance, Shift, and Revitalization

Endangered languages have received considerable attention in the last decade, as it has been shown that a majority of the world's languages are facing possible extinction in the near future.

The Kollas of San Andres vs. Seaboard Corporation: The Land Struggle of an Argentinean Indigenous People

The Kollas of San Andrés vs. Seaboard Corporation: The Land Struggle of an Argentinean Indigenous People

Should Turkey Execute Ocalan?

Abdullah (Apo) Ocalan -- the longtime leader of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) -- was sentenced to death by a Turkish State Security Court for treason, separatism, and murder on June 29, 1999.

Road Building in Chiapas Increases Tensions

A road being built in the Amador region, near La Realidad, has caused the first fighting since January 1999 between the Mexican army and the EZLN in Chiapas. Two skirmishes that left more than a dozen people injured between the two groups were reported in August. Diodoro Carrasco, the Mexican interior minister, ordered a stop to the project on August 26.

Preschool Program Revitalizing Cherokee Language

Thousands of distinct American Indian languages have been silenced forever due to pandemics of smallpox and other diseases brought by European contact, acculturation, and total annihilation. However, some still exist and various tribes are doing their best to revitalize their languages.

Maya Achi: The Story of a Forced Resettlement

Maya Achì: The Story of a Forced Resettlement

Massachusetts Burma Law Struck Down

On June 23, the First Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston struck down the 1996 Massachusetts Burma Law because it violated two articles of the constitution: 1) the prohibition against states regulating commerce if it unduly burdens interstate or foreign transactions; and 2) the supremacy of federal policy over state power.

Managing the Rain from Heaven: Dams and Downstream Residents in Southern Zambia

This encounter took place between a surveying party and indigenous people living alongside the Kafue Flats, the inland floodplain of the Kafue River in southern Zambia. The 1963 survey (see Howard and Williams, 1982) evaluated the region's potential for hydroelectric power development and irrigated farming. Ultimately the Zambian government built two hydrodams in the 1970s.

Indigenous Peoples Find Frustration with United Nations Conference

Dressed in traditional Incan clothing, a young Peruvian man stands in front of his fellow United Nations delegates and rips an official document into shreds. His fellow delegates applaud while a moderator, sitting at the front of a large auditorium, raises her voice into a tinny microphone to be heard over the clapping. The moderator herself is a Native American from the Yaqui tribe in Mexico.

Green Alliances? Anti-Mining Activism and Indigenous Communities in the "New World"

Green Alliances? Anti-Mining Activism and Indigenous Communities the "New World"

Going Under: Indigenous Peoples and the Struggle Against Large Dams

During the past few years, the resistance of indigenous and other minority communities to the construction of large dams has intensified and become increasingly better coordinated. In some regions, local resistance has become better organized and more effective. Globally, strengthening transnational ties contribute information, resources, and political leverage to the struggle.

East Timorese Betrayed

Following East Timor's UN-sponsored ballot on August 30 a wave of terror unprecedented in East Timor's grim history has descended on the country.

Displacement and Development: Construction of the Sardar Dam

Displacement and Development: Construction of the Sardar Sarovar Dam

Dams in the Mekong Region: Scoping Social and Cultural Issues

The standard social concern surrounding large dams and their associated reservoirs is the displacement and resettlement associated with these large infrastructure schemes. While such impacts remain of great concern, social and cultural issues associated with dams in the Mekong Region go well beyond questions of physical upheaval.

Dalai Lama Speaks in Central Park

Forty thousand people crowded together on Central Park's East Meadow on Sunday, August 15th, to hear the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, offer a few words of wisdom. His larger message was one of compassion and of total nonviolence, but the real focus of his speech was the individual. "Spiritual development does not have to come with religious faith," he said.

CS Hosts Forums on Large Dams and Indigenous Peoples, Arundhati Roy to Speak

Cultural Survival will host a series of forums on the subject of big dams and indigenous peoples on Wednesday, November 3 at the Geological Lecture Hall, Harvard University. The first forum, "What is the Greater Common Good? The Indigenous Struggle in India's Narmada Valley," will take place from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Caging the Rainbow: Places, Politics, and Aborigines in a North Australian Town

Francesca Merlan's latest book explores the lives of Aborigines in the small regional town of Katherine in Australia's Northern Territory. It combines ethnography and anthropological theory, grappling with issues surrounding the debate about the authenticity of contemporary cultural activity: specifically, changing notions of personal and group attachment to "country."

Big Dams: Serving the Greater Common Good?

It is well documented: Dams higher than fifteen meters from foundation to crest are rarely cost efficient. They wreak havoc on riverine ecosystems and in many instances result in the uprooting of entire communities -- destroying the people's livelihoods and prospects for the future.

After the Deluge: The Urgent Need For Reparations for Dam Victims

In April 1998, the Indian Express newspaper published a horrifying story about female infanticide and baby selling in adivasi (tribal) villages in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. The story described how abject poverty had increased the value of boys and forced the adivasis into selling or killing their girl babies.

Adivasis, Dams, and Displacement in India

India today has over 3600 dams; more than 3300 of them built after independence in 1947. At least 700 more dams are under construction. Adivasis constitute 8.08 percent of India's population as per 1991 census figures. According to an Indian government working group, 40-50 percent of those displaced by development projects are adivasis.


The Namibian government, with Angolan consent, is in the process of choosing a site on the Kunene River, the border between Namibia and Angola, to build a new hydroelectric dam. The Namibian government is enamored with the Epupa Falls for the location of their new dam, and consequently the proposed dam is now the center of immense controversy.

Uncertainty for Alaska Natives' Future

I have come to the point of despair. Having been born a Native, raised in my village, and lived my life in Alaska, I can say with conviction that there has not been a worse moment in Alaska's recent history for Alaska's Native peoples than now.

The Totem Peoples Preservation Project of Siberia and Mongolia

The Totem Peoples Preservation Project of Siberia and Mongolia, started by Dan Plumley, works to ensure the survival and sustainability of traditional, indigenous, and nomadic cultures whose lifestyle and spirituality are inextricably linked with totem animals.

Buddhism in Contemporary Tibet: Religious Revival and Cultural Identity

In his forward to this volume, Orville Schell quotes Mao Zedong on contradictions and the unity of opposites, thereby introducing two important points made in this significant book; contemporary Buddhist practice in Tibet can only be understood in relation to policies promulgated in Beijing, and this relationship is complex, creating paradoxes and conundrums for Tibetan Buddhists and Chinese po