Cultural Survival Quarterly Magazine

Tata Noah: A Peruvian Family Tale

He was not very tall, but he was considered more Indigenous that other people from our country. His skin was almost white, like a Creole’s, and his eyes were the color of the sky. Some of his children took the same eye color. He was my Tata Noah, the grandfather of my father, chief of Indigenous communities of Mollepata and Mollebamba.

The Dwellers of the Valley: A community profile from West Bengal

I come from a peasant family, and my forefathers were farmers. I was born and grew up in a hilly jungle hamlet hemmed in by bamboo, ferns, and tall deb daru (conifer) trees that change colors throughout the day.

Mountain Home

The village of Huilloc is home to about 200 traditional Quechua families living in stone-and-thatch houses at 12,000 feet in the Peruvian Andes north of Ollantaytambo, near Machu Picchu.

Farmers Without Borders

Climate change is now a fact of life, and one all humans must increasingly confront on a daily basis. Yet climate change is particularly hard for traditional small farmers who live in the most affected zones and lack high-tech tools to insulate themselves against the changing climate.


My thoughts are like a thousand startled bats looking for a way out of a cave. Their wings are frantically flapping as they move in a thousand different directions all at once. I saw this on one of those nature shows on TV, the shows you only watch when there is nothing else on.

Kola Le Miye Ca Wau Welo “My friend, this is me, I am coming”

Tonight, the drum beat propels stories written in colors. Sage-smudged murals speak. In the halls, young women walk past carrying harvested dark Arbol chili varieties and Yerba Buena, while garden beds outside host a conversation entirely in Lakota dialect. On the brick façade of this East Oakland building is a sign that reads, “Intertribal Friendship House.”

Air and Water

Water is a very powerful medicine. We refer to it as the blood of the holy sacred mother, Mother Earth. This can make a flower beautiful, make a tree grow tall, make each and every person spiritual, holy, sacred. You are all of these things to begin with, when you are born. How did this come about?

A Palette of Possibilities

Darnella Davis is an artist, educator, policy analyst, and member of the Muscogee Creek nation, with tribal roots in Oklahoma and Michigan. Davis exhibits her figurative watercolors, drawings, and oil paintings nationally and abroad.

Suzan Harjo

Suzan Shown Harjo has worked tirelessly for more than four decades to shape a national Native American policy agenda that addresses issues at the core of Indigenous identity:  sacred sites protection and access, religious freedom, treaty rights, mascot abolition, and language revitalization.

In Memoriam: Ellen L. Lutz (1955–2010)

We are deeply saddened to report the death of Ellen Lutz, who stepped down as executive director of Cultural Survival at the end of August because of the metastatic breast cancer that eventually took her life. She died on November 4 at the age of 55, surrounded by her husband, Ted Macdonald, and her children, David and Julia.