Cultural Survival Quarterly Magazine


31-4 Sudan in Flux

December 2007

In Memoriam David Maybury-Lewis 1929-2007

In 1972, when David Maybury-Lewis and his wife, Pia, founded Cultural Survival, indigenous rights were not on anyone’s radar screen. Anthropologists like David were supposed to objectively study indigenous cultures and publish their findings in academic journals.

Back of Bayuda

Ya Habibi!” I was tackled and lifted my off my feet in a bearhug embrace. I hadn’t seen Helima in seven years, since I’d last visited my father’s archaeology site in northern Sudan, and she hadn’t changed a bit. Barging through the house door with her 70-year-old wiry frame, her grin reached from cheek to cheek.

Interview with a Shímano

The Zápara people live in the Amazon jungle on the border between Peru and Ecuador in the area currently known as Pastaza, bordering on territories of Kichwa, Huaorani, and Achuar peoples. The Zápara were once one of the most important and populous peoples in the area, with 28 ethno-linguistic groups divided into 217 tribes and a population of 98,500 spread across a vast territory.

Likir, Ladakh

In the unlikely land of Ladakh, where verdant hamlets bloom in the grip of the Himalayas and monks ride motorcycles, survival is an art form. And Ladakhis proudly exhibit their mastery of it.

Dam Nation

Isabel Becker is a tiny but tough Ngobe woman from the village of Charco la Pava in the Changuinola River valley in western Panama. She’s lived there all her life. At the age of 59, she has nine children and a multitude of grandchildren and great grandchildren. Isabel never had the opportunity to learn to read or write, and she speaks only her native Ngobe language.

Rendering the Land Visible

I am standing alone by my tent in West Caprivi, Namibia. I am several weeks into fieldwork for my master’s thesis, the first step in what will become long-term work with the San. The evening sky is strange, blanketed with haze, yet still full of light. It is very quiet; even the birds are silent.

Maya Food and Photography

In 1992, an innovative program called the Chiapas Photography Project was launched in Mexico to give cameras to indigenous people of several Mayan ethnic groups so they could document their own lives. One of the signal aspects of life documented by these indigenous photographers is their food. So far they have created a traveling exhibition about food and published three food-related books.

The Art of Navigation

Most people today would agree that the landing of a human being on the moon in 1969 was one of the high-water marks in the history of human exploration. But there is another feat of navigation that has largely gone uncelebrated, though it is in some ways far more extraordinary.

A Return to Culture

Rudyard Kipling’s The Man Who Would be King is a parable about the price of cultural hubris. His two heroes decide that if they bring their innately superior culture to remote and backward people they can become the kings of the title.

A Message from the Executive Director: The Power of a Magazine

The Ngobe villagers I visited in November in the Changuinola River valley in western Panama have survived for centuries by building lives for themselves in the country’s most remote terrain and avoiding confrontation with the dominant society. But rapid modernization now threatens their way of life, and avoidance is no longer a viable strategy.