The Unraveling Knot

Shambling with his four goats through the white dust of central Owambo in northern Namibia, Aaron Shipena cuts a sad and disheveled figure. With knapsack over his shoulder, this wizened man in ill-fitting clothes - older and wiser than an observer might guess - has set off on the long search for grazing space in a flat landscape devoid of grass and surface water. Tree cover, too, is fast disappearing under unprecedented pressure for cultivable land and wood for fuel and construction.

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The World Commission on Dams' Process

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The ‡Khomani San Land Claim

In March 1999, the world media carried a picture of South African President Thabo Mbeki embracing Dawid Kruiper, leader of the ‡Khomani San.

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Toma: A Tribute

When anthropologists work in the field for extended periods, they live with and form ties with individuals who become more than mere representatives of their culture. Some of these relationship are deep and lasting. It is rare, however, for those individuals to filter through the ethnographies, the ponderosity of papers and documentary film, to become real people for the rest of us. There are, of course, exception: N!ai, N#isa, Ongka, Ogotomele, Dedeheiwä and #Toma.

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A diverse group of researchers, educators and San fieldworkers, among others, helped to compile this report by Willemien Le Roux for the Working Group of Indigenous Minorities in Southern Africa. This cooperation has resulted in a dense survey of the histories and present state of education of San groups in South Africa, Namibia and Botswana.

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Toward Self-Sufficiency

In 1992, sever drought struck southern Africa, reducing harvests and causing enormous social difficulties. Chronic food shortages now threaten over a quarter of the region's population. In the past decade, the number of families in southern Africa unable to meet their basic needs has doubled. Indigenous peoples in ZImbabwe, Botswana, and Naminia have had to look to drought relief feeding and cash-for-work programs for support.

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Tradition & Modernity in Contemporary San Art

San art at D’Kar and Schmidtsdrift is produced in each village by about a dozen artists, men and women, under the auspices of the Kuru Development Trust and the !Xu and Khwe Trust, respectively. Displayed as “Bushman art,” sometimes in conjunction with rock art (to which the contemporary art has a superficial resemblance but no cultural connection), San art becomes a mechanism for self-representation.

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Update on the Status of Bushmanland

The department of Nature Conservation has been active in the eastern half of Bushmanland since the formal proclamation of the so-called homeland in 1976. Unlike the residents of all other "ethnic homelands" in Namibia, Ju/Wasi have no representative council and are virtually wards of the state.

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Voices of the Dispossessed

The government’s intention to relocate the San out of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR) was announced in 1995.

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Where are the Wild Ones? The Involvement of Indigenous Communities in Tourism in Namibia


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Will Tourism Destroy San Cutures?

The San were colonized both by the Bantu tribes who moved south from eastern Africa and by the Europeans who forced their way northward from the Cape. These land-hungry pastoralist groups dispossessed the San of their land base and natural resources. The dispossession continues, even under the independent governments of Namibia and Botswana, through so-called integration and resettlement processes.

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At the Regional Conference on Development Programmes for Africa’s San Populations held in Windhoek, Namibia, in 1992, the San representatives resolved that "San peoples should be assisted to form committees to represent themselves at local, regional and international levels." (Government of the Republic of Namibia, 1992) This need was reiterated during a follow-up conference held in Gaborone, Botswana, in 1993, where the San delegates called on national governments "to support the formation o

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World Bank Meets with San Representatives

On February 12-13, 2002, representatives of the various San organizations from across southern Africa met with representatives of the World Bank in Windhoek, Namibia to discuss issues surrounding the World Bank's indigenous peoples policy (see also CSQ 25:4). This meeting is one of several to be held with indigenous peoples' organizations in Africa by the World Bank, which is making a concerted effort to consult with indigenous organizations to assess their reactions to its revised policy.

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On March 15, the United Nations General Assembly voted 170–4 to create a new Human Rights Council, effectively dissolving the oft-criticized Commission on Human Rights. Candidates for the Council will need to be elected by an absolute majority of 96 votes in order to secure a position, and once elected members can serve a maximum of two consecutive terms.

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Together, We Can Support Indigenous Communities in Nepal

nepal map

Cultural Survival is not a disaster relief organization. We work towards a world in which the rights of Indigenous Peoples are respected, protected, and fulfilled.

Bikalpa Gyan Kedra, an organization in Nepal founded by our Board Member Stella Tamang offers alternative educational opportunities to Indigenous girls and is not a disaster relief organization either, but since the earthquake they have been acting as a shelter to 300 local families. They need basic items like drinking water and food.

Radio Kairan in Kubu-Kasthali is asking for help with purchasing a power generator to get his community radio station back up and running to provide an essential means of communication for villagers on relief efforts as well as to power his community. Cost for this generator would be about $2,500

We have set up a special fund to assist our Indigenous contacts in Nepal. With your help, we can provide some limited assistance to our friends in desperate need.

Donate to Nepal