Cultural Survival is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization in consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), that works toward a world in which Indigenous Peoples speak their languages, live on their land, control their resources, maintain thriving cultures, and participate in broader society on equal footing with other peoples. We provide advocacy to amplify Indigenous voices around the world and provide support of their efforts to strengthen communities. Cultural Survival is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with satellite offices in Guatemala and Colorado.
Founded in 1972 by Harvard University anthropologist David Maybury-Lewis and his wife Pia, Cultural Survival today promotes the rights of Indigenous communities around the globe. All of the work is predicated on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. We assist Indigenous People in obtaining the knowledge, advocacy tools, and strategic partnerships they need to protect their rights. When their governments don't respond, we partner with them to bring their cases to international commissions and courts, and we involve the public and policy makers in advocating for their rights.
For more information on our organization including our board and staff and our annual reports, please click here.
Our Current Programs:
Our Advocacy program helps stop the destruction of fragile habitats and ecosystems and the Indigenous communities that depend on them when those lands are threatened by mines, logging, and other extractive industries. For current campaigns click here.
Endangered Languages Program:
Indigenous languages carry unique philosophies, histories, ceremonies, and irreplaceable environmental knowledge of biodiversity accumulated over millennia. Native languages constitute both the core and the foundations of tribal identities and cultures by mapping ancestors' universes and ties to traditional homelands.
Community Media Program:
Cultural Survival is partnering with Guatemalan nongovernmental organizations to strengthen this network of 80 community radio stations across the country, many of which broadcast in one or more of the country’s twenty-three indigenous languages. The stations provide news, educational programming, health information, and traditional music, all reinforcing pride in Mayan heritage.
Indigenous Artisan Bazaar Program:
The Cultural Survival Bazaar Program works to strengthen Indigenous cultures by providing a venue for the sale of art and crafts made by Indigenous artisans. The sale of crafts perpetuates the artistic traditions, which are culturally significant to many Indigenous communities, provides capital to Indigenous communities, and provides sustainable income to individual artisans and their families. Since 2006, the Cultural Survival Bazaars have generated over 3 million dollars for Indigenous artisans, performers, fair trade, and other projects benefiting Native communities.
Cultural Survival Quarterly:
Cultural Survival offers the most comprehensive source of information on Indigenous Peoples on the planet. Our award-winning magazine, the Cultural Survival Quarterly, has been published for more than 37 years.
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