10.3 (Fall 1986) Mountain Peoples

Date: February 19, 2010

Recorded Tibetan history dates from the fourth century when the first kingdoms were established at Yarlung, in what is now South-Central Tibet. Later, in the seventh century, the center of Tibetan civilization shifted to the valley of Lhasa, "Gods' Place," where the first Buddhist kingdoms were established.

Date: February 19, 2010

An Example of Appropriate Technology and Cooperative Spirit

Over the years, writers and travelers have been unable to resist employing the term Shangri La to describe the remote land of Ladakh, in northern India. Yet, at a glance, this region of the Tibetan Plateau seems an unlikely paradise. The soaring Himalayas, which define Ladakh on the south, prevent all but about four inches of annual precipitation from reaching the area. The base elevation is around 11,000 feet, with the mountains reaching 20,000 feet and higher.

Date: February 19, 2010

The tourists who flock to Nepal in ever-increasing numbers are offered an idyllic vision of rural life, seemingly unchanged for centuries, set among some of the most spectacular mountain scenery in the world. Yet this image is illusory; despite revenue from tourism and massive injections of foreign aid (now totaling over half the national budget), the rural population in the Hills of Nepal is caught in a cycle of impoverishment.

Date: February 19, 2010

ONE SMALL TOWN FOR SALE, FULLY OCCUPIED, proclaimed a headline in The New York Times classified section one fall Sunday in 1976. This description of the village of Corbett followed:

Date: February 19, 2010

In the next two years the Peoples' Republic of China will relocate 350,000 people in the Ning Xia Hui Autonomous Region.

These days the national news from China is about the business- and profit-oriented policies of Deng Xiao Ping, and how they have transfigured the country. The local news in the Ning Xia Hui Autonomous region, however, tells a different story. The primary concern in this small and dusty province in northwest China is not profits but survival.

Date: February 19, 2010

There is a problem in the Himalayas potentially more dangerous than the spiraling poverty and environmental degradation. It is that poor scientific research and inappropriate solutions may make the situation worse.

Date: February 19, 2010

In this issue Cultural Survival focuses on mountain people - a subject that only takes shape after some initial turning and prodding, because "mountain people" is the kind of catch-all term which tends to fall apart when you take a close

Date: February 19, 2010

In temperate-zone mountain systems throughout the world, the migratory life of shepherd communities is threatened. The pastoral life is marginal to dominant cultures and economies around it, and vulnerable to processes of ecological deterioration. Throughout most of the arc of the Himalayan mountain region, subsistence is rooted in the limited, fragile resources of the mountain's alluvial valleys, forests and high pastures.

Date: February 19, 2010

Throughout Andean history, two themes pull at cross-purposes. One is adaptation, which combines agricultural innovations with a social organization that emphasizes principles of complementarity and reciprocity - a pattern that binds people, resources and regions. It serves to ameliorate the consequences of climatic unpredictability, ecological diversity and (by European standards) marginal agricultural terrain. The second is four centuries of domination by outsiders seeking to gain control over Andean resources and labor, and subsequently constraining people's efforts to meet their needs.

Date: February 19, 2010

In October 1985, the Ethiopian government reported that 17,553 heads of families from Tigray had been resettled to unoccupied "virgin, fertile" lands in the Gambella region of Illubabor Province in the extreme southwest of Ethiopia.

Date: February 19, 2010

Four main tributaries How through, the Sierra Madre Occidental in Mexico's state of Jalisco carving precipitous canyons several thousand meters deep; the sandy soils of the surrounding mountains allow a forest composed largely of scrub oak and pine. Until quite recently, this combination of formidable terrain and poor soils allowed the resident Huichol Indians a rare, and for them desirable degree of isolation.

Date: February 19, 2010

By almost any reckoning, Bolivia is the poorest country in South America. More than half the population comprises Quechua- and Aymara-speaking people, of whom the majority are peasant farmers in the altiplano (high Andean plateau) and intra-Andean valleys. Although they produce most of the domestic food supply, they are among the most undernourished people in the country.

The Quechua and Aymara are descended from unique civilizations that evolved in the Andean highlands over several millennia before the sixteenth century Spanish invasion.

Date: February 19, 2010

Until recently, anthropologists routinely characterized the Aymara of the altiplano (high Andean plateau) around Lake Titicaca in southern Peru as almost pathologically inflexible and fatalistic.