Our Mission

Cultural Survival advocates for Indigenous Peoples' rights and supports Indigenous communities’ self-determination, cultures and political resilience since 1972. Cultural Survival envisions a future that respects and honors Indigenous Peoples' inherent rights and dynamic cultures, deeply and richly interwoven in lands, languages, spiritual traditions, and artistic expression, rooted in self-determination and self-governance.

Our Programs

Community Media

Our Community Media Program provides important grants and support to a network of Indigenous community radio stations around the globe and develops critically needed programming to assure freedom of expression. In 2018, 33 media projects were funded in nine countries (Mexico, Guatemala, Nepal, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, South Africa, Panama), totaling $210,000. 60+ Indigenous women received training in radio production and journalism.

Community Media Youth Fellowship

The Indigenous Community Media Youth Fellowship supported 6 youth from Guatemala, Costa Rica, Mexico and Ecuador in building capacity in media, journalism, radio production, advocacy skills, technical abilities, and regional networking.

Women's Workshops

Our Community Media Program continued our series of training workshops for women in Central America that aims to develop Indigenous women leaders and support their development of gender equity-driven radio programming at Indigenous community radio stations. During 2018, a series of three workshops supported the capacity of 40 Indigenous women radio communicators, with an emphasis on the principle of Chacha-Warmi (an Andean Indigenous perspective of harmony between men and women, and the recognition of duality in nature and in human beings) or what to the Western world is known as gender equity. Workshops were held in Antigua, Guatemala from November 6-10, Chiapas, Mexico from November 14-16, and Oaxaca, Mexico from November 28-December 1.

Environmental Convening

Our second environmental convening “Respecting Our Science and Ways of Knowing: Indigenous Peoples’ Food Sovereignty, Traditional Lifeways, and Climate Change” was held in Ixtlán, Oaxaca, Mexico on August 24-26. Sixty-eight participants comprised of Indigenous community members, scientists, academics, students, elders, and youth discussed topics such as Indigenous traditional knowledge, understandings and perspectives of climate change, and the issues Indigenous communities face resulting from the rapid pace of anthropocentric climate change and the impact on food sovereignty.

Keepers of the Earth Fund

The Keepers of the Earth Fund is a small grants fund designed to support Indigenous Peoples’ community advocacy and development projects to claim self-determination and Free, Prior and Informed Consent. In 2018, we awarded 12 grants in nine countries (Nepal, Brazil, Kenya, Honduras, Ecuador, Mexico, USA, Panama, Belize), totaling $58,895.

“The term Keepers of the Earth is very well put, because our community, with the support of Cultural Survival, has been able to reinforce this way of seeing the world. Through this project, it is my job to follow through with my role as an Earth Guardian. Cultural Survival is one of the few organizations that we know of which enables us to go ahead, and do what we want to do, the way we want to do it. That is very important."

–Oswaldo Martinez, Fundacion de Santa Maria para la Promocion Indigena y Agroforestal, México, Keepers of the Earth Grant Partner

Advocacy Program

 

  • Our Advocacy Program brings international attention to places where governments and corporations have violated Indigenous rights.

    •  In 2018, Cultural Survival submitted 21 stakeholder reports to the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) and UN Treaty Bodies on human rights issues affecting Indigenous communities in 15 countries (Cameroon, Mexico, Nepal, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Belize, Chile, China, Malaysia, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Cambodia.  

    • We provided advocacy accompaniment to three grantee partner organizations from Brazil, Belize, and Ecuador participating in the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Peoples Issues in New York, including logistics coordination, planning and scheduling of meetings with country missions, drafting Interventions, media support including photography, video, and audio.  We hosted/ co-hosted five side events that were well-attended by forum attendees. We also held four live-broadcast panel sessions at the new "Indigenous Media Zone" that were watched by thousands of viewers on social media.

    • CS staff and our grantee partners held eight meetings with UN Country Missions to advocate on issues like Freedom of Expression in Latin America, Land Rights in Belize, and the effects of industrial soy farming in Brazil's Amazon, which will lead to follow up within the UPR process.

    • Our advocacy also has impacts locally: together with local partners, we carried out the first ever public celebration of Indigenous Peoples Day in the city where Cultural Survival was founded, Cambridge, MA, inviting Lakota hip hop artist Frank Waln to perform a free concert. 

 

Indigenous Rights Radio

Our Indigenous Rights Radio Program shares the latest information on Indigenous Peoples' rights and how they are being implemented around the world in English, Spanish and Indigenous languages. In 2018, we released over 196 programs in 81 countries to 1,733 stations on Indigenous rights topics, such as the right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent, Indigenous women’s rights, food sovereignty, and Sustainable Development Goals.

Cultural Survival Bazaars

Since 1975, Cultural Survival Bazaars have provided a market for thousands of Indigenous artists and cooperatives spanning six continents and over sixty countries. In 2018, the Bazaars hosted over 50 artists and generated over $493,358 for Indigenous artists and communities, supporting their right to practice cultural traditions and customs and develop their cultural heritage.

Indigenous Artisan Institute

The 2018 Indigenous Artisan Institute brought together 15 Indigenous artists from India, Nepal, Uzbekistan, Peru, Mexico, Burkina Faso, and Madagascar to showcase their skills and mastery, build relationships, and exchange skills.

Audited Financials for 2018

Expenses pie chart
Income pie chart

Volunteers, Interns and Consultants:

Salma Al-Sulaiman, Tobias Berblinger, Josamine Bronnvik, Jenna Brooks, Jackie Chen, Megan Davis, Leah Gage, Brooke Gilder, Francesca Glaspell, Megan Heidel, Emma Himmelberger, Evan Klasky, Tracy Lai, Diego Lopez, Kimberly Maida, Aine McAlinden, Toni Monge, Allen Perez, Nathasha Perlmutter, María Reyes García, Madeline Streilein

Board of Directors

Duane Champagne (Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa),  President
Steven Heim,  Vice-President
Jason Campbell (Spokane),  Treasurer
Nicole Friederichs, Clerk
 
Evelyn Arce Erickson
Kaimana Barcarse (Native Hawaiian)
Jason Campbell (Spokane)
Laura Graham
Jean Jackson
Ajb’ee Jiménez (Mam Maya)
Lesley Kabotie (Crow)
John King
Stephen Marks
Tui Shortland (Māori)
Stella Tamang (Tamang)

Staff Members

Suzanne Benally (Navajo and Santa Clara Tewa), Executive Director *
Mark Camp, Deputy Executive Director
Maria Eugenia "Maru" Chavez, Indigenous Rights Radio Program Manager *
Jessie Cherofsky, Bazaar Program Manager
Avexnim Cojti (Maya K’iche’), Community Media Program Manager
Danielle DeLuca, Advocacy Program Manager
Shaldon Ferris (Khoisan), Indigenous Rights Radio Producer
Sofia Flynn, Accounting & Office Manager
Nati Garcia (Maya Mam), Indigenous Youth Community Media Fellowship Coordinator
Cesar Gomez (Pocomam), Community Media Program Coordinator
Bia’ni Madsa’ Juárez López (Mixe/Zapotec), Keepers of the Earth Fund Project Manager
Dev Kumar Sunuwar (Kumar/ Sunuwar), Program Associate, Community Media Grants Project
María del Rosario ‘Rosy’ Sul González (Kakchiquel Maya), Radio Producer
Danae Laura, Bazaar Program Manager
Jamie Malcolm-Brown, Communications & Information Technology Manager
Teresita Orozco Mendoza, Community Media Program Coordinator
Katharine Norris, Program Assistant *
Diana Pastor (Maya K'iche'), Program Assistant
Agnes Portalewska, Communications Manager
Melissa Stevens, Director of Philanthropic Partnerships *
Jackie Tiller (Tlingit) Keepers of the Earth Fund Project Manager *
Socrates Vasquez (Ayuuk), Community Media Grants Coordinator
Miranda Vitello, Development Associate

* staff members no longer on staff

PARTNERS IN CHANGE:

Thank you to our Partners In Change

Our work would not be possible without your generous support.

Donors and Foundations

$500-$999

American Endowment Foundation
Anonymous
Mark Baranowski
Stephan and Judy Beyer
Nancy Bonvillain
Ken Bricker
Carolyn Brown
Louise M. Burkhart
Vikki and Michael Caldwell
Mary Ann Camp
Jim Campen and Phyllis Ewen
Lin and Adam Cheyer
Donna L. Ching and Richard F. Leman
John Coley and Rebekah Levine Coley
Arthur R. Corbin
Jean D. Crandall Memorial Fund
Wendy Emrich
Nancy E. Fleischer
Beebe Frazer
John Fries
Helen S. Halperin
James and June Howe
Richard M. Leventhal
Jesse W. Markow
Anthony Maybury-Lewis and Chikako Kuno
Randy Muth and Patricia Matson
Carol Newell
Sandra J. Occhipinti
Denise Peine
Barbara Peterson
David Rosenstein
Jane Safer
E. A. Sheehan
Dina and Joel Sherzer
Christopher Simpson
Martha Stampfer
Terry and Mary Vogt

$1,000+

Anonymous
Appleton Foundation
Paul and Edith Babson Foundation
The Bay and Paul Foundations
BV Investment Partners
Duane Champagne
Channel Foundation
The Christensen Fund
Fidelity Charitable
Michael M. Fischer and Susann L. Wilkinson
Ford Foundation Mexico
Full Circle Fund of RSF Social Finance
William Fuller
Betsy Gordon Foundation
Gorlitz Foundation
Laura R. Graham and T.M. Scruggs
William and Jeanie Graustein
Sandra and Michael J. Harner
Steven and Katherine Heim
Hindenburg Systems
Jonathan Holmes
Horne Family Foundation
Innovo Foundation
Institute of International Education
Irving House
Jean E. Jackson
Jantz Management LLC
Julian Cho Society
Louis Kampf
John J. and Pam King
John J. and Regina B. Kulczycki
Lannan Foundation
Katharine W. Larsen
Mariposa Museum
Stephen P. Marks
George Martin
The Middle Passage Foundation
Rosemary Mudd
P. Ranganath and Sandra Nayak
NoVo Foundation
Ralph E. Ogden Foundation, Inc.
Anthony S. and Sally Petru
Jerome C. and Janet Regier
R. Eric Reuss
Barbara Rogoff
The Pentera Trust
William S. Potter and Mary Saylor
Schwab Charitable Fund
Emily Siegel
Silicon Valley Community Foundation
Teresa M. and Anthony Smith
Mary Gay Sprague and William T. Hassler
Swift Foundation
James H. Tull
Vanguard Charitable
Wendy Warrington and Kim Hoffman
Christopher K. Watson and Nicola Heindl-Watson
Dan S. and Beth Whittemore
David S. Wilkie
Winky Foundation
Karen Yust
Ariel Zuckerman