Cultural Survival Quarterly Magazine

UN Adopts the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

After 25 years of negotiation, 10 months of procedural shenanigans, last-minute complications, and hard-won compromises, the United Nations General Assembly finally adopted the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in a near-unanimous vote on September 13. There were 143 votes in favor of the declaration, only 4 against it, and 11 abstentions.

The State of the Native Nations: Conditions Under U.S. Policies of Self-Determination

The State of the Native Nations: Conditions Under U.S. Policies of Self-Determination By the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development Oxford University Press, 2008 ISBN 0195301250 Reviewed by Ellen L. Lutz

The Glory of Oratory

Speechmaking may not seem like an art form. Certainly it is not one in the United States, where most speeches are made by politicians using strings of prepackaged slogans and even the president delivers his public addresses like he isn’t sure what the words mean.

The Deer that Reigns

A creation story related by Risten Lango, a Sami reindeer herder, tells of a white reindeer creating the world. The reindeer’s veins became rivers, its fur became forest, its stomach became the ocean, and its horns became mountains. For the Sami people of Scandinavia and Russia, reindeer is a staple. Some Sami herd reindeer; they rely on the animal extensively for food, tools, and clothing.

Reparations: Putting the Past to Rights

Years before joining Cultural Survival, I spent about a decade working with survivors of torture and other traumatic human rights abuses, mostly from Latin America, and another 12 years seeking justice and compensation in a U.S. federal court for survivors of atrocities committed by Philippines dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

Oh, Canada!

"Residential schools.” On the surface, the term sounds benign, even bucolic, the sort of place where upper-class Britons would send their children in preparation for Oxford. But for Native Peoples in Canada, residential schools are the stuff of nightmares.

Intolerable Intolerance

A new wave of racism against indigenous peoples is emanating from figures so hallowed they are intimidating to confront. But confront them we must; and recognize their words and deeds for what they are. The mistakes of the past are too egregious. We cannot tolerate their recurrence.

Healing Hidden Wounds

When most people think of reparations, they tend to think of things like money, land, or legislation. Certainly those are useful tools for helping victims regain their sense of dignity and move forward. But human rights violations tend to do much of their damage in the social and psychological realm, so physical reparations don’t really address the problem.

For the Children

Throughout her life, Pat Anderson has played various roles in the movement for Aboriginal justice in Australia. She has been an education union officer, community education instructor, and health worker. Now, she is speaking out perhaps more publicly than ever before.

Don't Worry, Be Guilty

Despite the fact that there are global trends in favor of reparations for indigenous peoples, the United States has no general program of reparations for Native Americans and no prospects for adopting one. Part of the reason for this may be political, but the larger part lies in the origins and basic philosophy of the country.

Courting Disaster

Ubi jus ibi remedium. Since at least ancient Roman times, Western legal systems have recognized that where there is a right, there also must be a remedy. Western law now dominates the globe and underpins international human rights law.


At the age of 16, Ugandan-born Bernard Kibirige, a member of the Muganda tribe, found himself bearing a burden carried by many children in his country: he lost both parents to AIDS. Being the eldest child in a family of 10, he assumed full responsibility in caring for his younger siblings.

Arctic Son

Arctic Son A film by Andrew Walton. Big Mouth Films, April 2006 Broadcast on the PBS program POV August 2007