Cultural Survival Quarterly Magazine


Xavante Archive Documents Vital Culture

When Pia Maybury-Lewis and I witnessed, more than 30 years ago, the struggles the Xavante in Central Brazil faced to protect their lands and culture, we were inspired to found Cultural Survival. Today, the Xavante have developed a number of projects to promote their own cultural survival.

U.S. Denies Shoshone Grazing Rights, Threatens Horses

On a crisp November day in Crescent Valley, Nevada, Carrie Dann ambles along her family’s big corral, showing horses for sale to a man from a neighboring ranch. The man, a worker on the ranch and a citizen of Mexico, speaks no English, so Carrie must rely on translation help from a visitor.

The Deadly Paradox of Banado la Estrella

Indigenous groups inhabiting the area of Bañado La Estrella in Formosa, Argentina, certainly know how to fish. Moreover, fish is their favorite food. Yet, they are starving and their children suffer from malnutrition. Meanwhile, a few kilometers away, fish die by the thousands because of badly understood ecological changes.

Review: Water and Power in Highland Peru: The Cultural Politics of Irrigation and Development

Water and Power in Highland Peru: The Cultural Politics of Irrigation and Development is an important contribution to the growing fields of ethno-politics and resource management.

Review: Tecpan Guatemala: A Modern Maya Town in Global and Local Context

Edward F. Fischer and Carol Hendrickson’s new ethnography, Tecpan Guatemala: A Modern Maya Town in Global and Local Context, transcends the boundaries of traditional anthropological case study. They craft neither a romantic story of a victimized Maya progeny nor an esoteric and completely case-specific study.

Review: Rethinking Globalization: Teaching for Justice in an Unjust World

Rethinking Globalization: Teaching for Justice in an Unjust World provides a comprehensive introduction to globalization for teachers and students and addresses the sources of global injustice.

Reminiscences About the Reindeer Herders of China

Late on a frosty afternoon in fall 1993, we were leaving the mountains of the northern slopes of the Greater Hinggan Range on the back of a rumbling cart, lurching here and there. In one direction the sky glowed red, and in the other it looked like something between rain and snow. A double rainbow arched across the valley behind us—a seal on our memories, locking the scene in the past forever.

Peaceful Movements for Justice in Indonesia

In early 1999 the West Province of the island of Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo) erupted in violence. Longstanding enmity between migrants from the island of Madura, near Java, and indigenous Dayaks culminated in street battles that continued for months.

Hope for the Indigenous Peoples of Brazil

Brazil’s Indians have been mistreated for as long as anybody can remember. At the same time, dedicated defenders have devoted their lives to the Indian cause. The most famous of these was General Candido Mariano Rondon who became famous for leading expeditions through "Indian Country" and making friends with the Indians as he went.

Hisparidi Top'tiro on the Importance of 'Ro

The Warã Association works to conserve the 'ró [savannah], which is the source of Xavante power. Dañimite and Simihöpãr¢, spirits that give us power, inhabit the 'ró. Without the Dañimite and Simihöpãr¢, we young Xavante will not have the same strength that our fathers possessed.

Gold Mining as Subsistence: Ghana's Small-Scale Miners Left Behind

Touted as having as much as 70 percent of West Africa’s gold deposits, Ghana has, for centuries, attracted numerous foreigners seeking to trade and invest in its mineral riches. About one-sixth of the country contains extractable gold, and certain regions hold rich diamond reserves.

Ecuador Elections put Indigenous at the Top, on the Ground

An historical event took place on January 15, 2003, barely noted by speculative international observers.

Bicultural Education in the U.S.- An Interview with Ken Pepion

Cultural Survival Education Coordinator Lisa Matthews recently spoke with Ken Pepion about the importance of education for and about American Indians. Pepion is the executive director of the Native American studies program at Harvard University.Matthews: What challenges do educators face when they include American Indian studies in their curriculum?

Awas Tingni Community Sues Nicaragua Government over Noncompliance

The Mayangna (Sumo) Indigenous Community of Awas Tingni filed suit in a Nicaraguan appeals court in January to require the Nicaraguan government to enforce an international ruling that protects indigenous people’s land and resource rights.In August 2001, the Organization of American States’ Inter-American Court of Human Rights found international human rights violations in the Nicaraguan govern

A Long, Confusing Day: Bicultural Education the Only Hope for Maasai Students

At the start of each academic term in Kenya, peace becomes a rare phenomenon in many households as both parents and students get hysterical about the overpowering burden of education. This situation is much worse in pastoral areas where 100 percent of pastoralists live.

White Banner of Hope: Collaboration Needed to Promote Peace, Sustainability and Cultural Survival

People across the transborder region of the western and eastern Sayan Mountains recognize the sacred white banner (called tsagan hadag in Buryat-Mongolian) as a symbol of welcome, sincerity, purity, friendship, and hospitality.

Voices of the Reindeer Peoples

The spring blossomed out over the taigaand scarcely waving the hands, it has so beautified the earth, as all of a sudden spread out a carpet. All trees put on the magnificent attire, that is most wonderful in spring, The birds of passage are flying, And bring their songs on wings. A young reindeer stands motionless,

Through the Years:Land Rights Among the Evenkis of Southeastern Siberia

Traveling up the Tokko River from the Native village of Tyanya (Olekma County, Sakha Republic, Russia), you may occasionally spot the ephemeral swirl of smoke rising above the dark larch forest. Guide your boat shoreward and a scramble up the bank will find you in a small camp of Evenkis.

The Troubled Taiga

The reindeer-herding peoples who make up the South Siberian and Mongolian Reindeer-Herding Complex include the Dukha of northwestern Mongolia, the Tozhu of the Republic of Tyva, the Tofa of Irkutsk Province, the Soyot of the Buryat Republic, and the Evenki, who range throughout south Siberia and into the northern tip of China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.

The Legacy of the Viliui Reinfeer-Herding Complex

As reindeer herders in other parts of south Siberia fight for cultural survival in their homelands, those who once resided in the Viliui River watershed have already lost.

Review: People, Nation and State: The Meaning of Ethnicity and Nationalism

Enlightenment thinking prioritized the interests of humanity over the interests of nations. Immanuel Kant, for example, envisioned a future federation of free states bound by laws of universal hospitality where a violation of rights in one part was felt everywhere.

Reindeer Herding in the Eastern Sayan- A Story of the Soyot

The Okinsky Region within the Buryat Republic of Russia occupies the central plateau and the surrounding ranges of the Eastern Sayan Mountains. Today it is inhabited predominantly by two ethnic groups—the Soyot and the Buryat. The total population of the region is 4,595: 2,039 Soyot, 2,506 Buryat, and 50 Russians. The majority of these peoples now practice mountain-type cattle breeding.

RAIPON: National Representation, Advocacy, and Hope

The Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North (RAIPON) represents some 200,000 indigenous peoples from more than 30 ethnic groups throughout the Russian Federation, including the Evenki, Tozhu, Tofa, and Soyot, discussed in this issue of Cultural Survival Quarterly.

Nature Preserves Threaten Land Rights

The 1997 creation of the World Wildlife Fund-Sakha Resource Reserve (Cheroda) was a major territorial initiative that continues to challenge the Evenkis of Olekma County, Sakha Republic. Such an event is not without precedent.

Last Hunting Tribe to Move Out of Mountains

Damala, an Ewenki [Evenki] woman hunter in her 40s, has been busy preparing to move as the relocation of her whole tribe, the last hunting tribe in China, will start this fall.

Language Endangerment Among the Tofa

For 10 months of each year, the three remote villages in the eastern Sayan mountains of south Siberia where the 731 members of the Tofa Nation live are accessible only by helicopter or small 1950s vintage bi-planes. In the dead of winter, visitors can drive along frozen rivers in an all-terrain truck to reach the villages.

Hunting for a Solution:Tozhu Wild Animal Resources Threatened by Poaching and Industrial Development

In early March 2000 the two-family herding camp of Viktor Sambuu and Roman Baraan boiled their final scraps of sinewy reindeer meat. The reindeer’s untimely slaughter, forced by a cracked vertebra, was a mixed blessing: The camp desperately needed the meat, but the Tozhu people of the Tozhu District in the northeastern Republic of Tyva were loath to slaughter one, even times of dire need.

Following the White Stag:The Dukha and Their Struggle for Survival

The Dukha are a distinct tribe of Tyvan-lineage reindeer herders who have resided in northern Mongolia's Hovsgol Province since the borders between Russia and Mongolia were officially closed in 1947, at the start of the Cold War. But the true heritage of Dukha ancestry has been deeply etched all across this border region over the course of millennia.

Evenki Reindeer Herding: A History

Contemporary reindeer herding in Siberia varies greatly from region to region, due to influences of different environments, histories, and ethnic characteristics. The Evenki, formerly known as the Tungus, practice taiga-type reindeer herding—also known as Evenki- or Tungus-type herding—in south Siberia’s mountainous zones.

Chinese Dual-Ownership System Remains a Hopeful Model Despite Evenkis' Forced Relocation from Olguya

Until fall 2002, some 30 Evenki families lived in the village of Ôlguya at the northern tip of China’s Inner Mongolia province. While they were not the only Evenki in China, these few Evenki families centered around Ôlguya were China’s only reindeer-herding people.

Charter Agreement on Goals for Long-Term Cooperation on Strengthening Traditional Reindeer Cultures and Reindeer Husbandry of th

Charter Agreement on Goals for Long-Term Cooperationon Strengthening Traditional Reindeer Cultures and Reindeer Husbandry of the Transboundary Lake Hovsgol-Sayan Regions of Mongolia and Russia in Geographic Inner Asia City of Kyzyl, Republic of Tyva, Russia, July 2000

An Evenki Youth Leadership Organization's Effort to Advance Territories of Traditional Nature Use

Numerous plans to build natural gas and oil pipelines across Transbaikalia have been proposed over the past several years, spurred by regional, national, and international interest in developing Siberia's natural resources.

Aiding and Empowering Reindeer Herders:Totem Peoples' Preservation Project

The Totem Peoples' Preservation Project is dedicated to aiding the sustainability of traditionally nomadic reindeer, yak, camel, and other livestock herding, hunting, and gathering peoples in eastern Siberia and Mongolia.

A Conditional Coexistence:Yezidi in Armenia

In August 2001 the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) held a conference in Armenia on the practical implementation of the European Convention on the Protection of National Minorities.