Cultural Survival Quarterly Magazine

War Without End

The Kachin are a confederacy of peoples united by a complex clan system. They live in the mountainous, northern region of Southeast Asia, which includes parts of Assam (northwest India), Yunnan Province (southern China), and Kachin State (northern Burma).

Two Agendas on Amazon Development

We, the Indigenous Peoples, have been an integral part of the Amazon Biosphere for millennia. We have used and cared for the resources of that biosphere with a great deal of respect, because it is our home, and because we know that our survival and that of our future generations depends on it.

The Year in Review

Nineteen eighty-nine has been a crucial year in the struggle of indigenous people for their rights. A brief recap of some of this year's important events reveals a future that is both dismal and encouraging.

The Tradition of Democracy in the Shan State

The present boundaries of the Shan State (a landlocked Switzerland nestled in the heart of the Southeast Asian peninsula) encompass some 63,000 square miles (one-third the size of Texas). The population is thought to be between 5 and 6 million; the last reliable census, in 1931, reported 2 million. The inhabitants call themselves Tai and speak local dialects of the Thai language.

The Nucleus for Indigenous Rights: Promoting Equality in Brazil

The Nucleus for Indigenous Rights (NDI) was conceived in Brazil in October 1988 in the aftermath of the victorious battle to preserve and in many cases strengthen the rights of Indians under the new Brazilian Constitution.

The Kawthoolei Women's Organization

The establishment of the Kawthoolei Women's Organization (KWO) in April 1985 is described in KWO's magazine as "a victory against the BSPP [Burma Socialist Program Party] military regime, against Burmese chauvinism and against male chauvinism," indicating clearly that the Karen women's movement is inseparable from the Karen national liberation struggle.

The Karenni and Pa-Oh: Revolution in Burma

The Karenni and Pa-oh (also spelled Pa-O) indigenous groups of Burma share a traditional heritage, but have distinct styles of dress, rituals, mores, languages, and diets. Although both are cultivators, the Pa-oh live on the highland plateaus and open land most suitable for intensive agriculture.

Project Letimaren: Indigenous Resource Management in Ecuador's Upper Amazon

In recent years the world has turned its attention to the plight of its tropical rain forests and the indigenous residents who occupy them. Road construction, colonization, cattle ranching, and various forms of resource extraction threaten to destroy the vital biological diversity contained within these forests.

Mon Women Speak Out for Peace

These essays by Mon women express their hopes for peace and recount the effects of Burma's frontier war on their lives. Burma, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam are home to the Mon ethnic group. There are approximately 1.3 million Mons living in Burma. The Mons are the descendants of a civilization that spread Buddhism throughout Southeast Asia. They speak a Khmer-related language.

Loikaw: A Town Under Siege

First of all I have to plead that you keep secret from where you received this letter; I don't dare sign my name as I fear for my life. As it is a very serious matter for us and for our beloved mother country, I have to endeavor and to risk my life to write this letter to you. The situation in Loikaw, Kayah State during 22nd, 23rd, and 24th days of June 1989 was as follows:

Karen Education: Children on the Front Line

In 1974, while I was attending Rangoon University, my husband became involved in the students' uprising on campus. I was forced to leave my student's lire and seek shelter in the jungle with my husband.

Indigenous People Mired in "Foreign Mud"

Although it is grown by indigenous people-hill tribes such as the Wa, Lahu, Akha, Lisu, and Palaung-in Burma the opium poppy is not an indigenous crop. It was introduced to Southeast Asia by Portuguese and Dutch traders in the sixteenth century and was commercialized in the nineteenth century during the British Empire's economic development of Burma.

Cultural Survival Projects - 1989

Over the past 10 years, more than half of Cultural Survival's funds have supported field projects among indigenous peoples and ethnic minorities in the Third World. The final Cultural Survival Quarterly of each year includes a brief description of our approach to projects and project selection as well as an overview of projects funded during the year.

Burma and World War II

For the rare outside visitor today it is perhaps hard to imagine that Burma, one of the most secretive and isolated countries in the world, was also one of the most violent theaters of conflict in the entire history of World War II.