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CULTURAL SURVIVAL: AIMS AND METHODS

Since 1972, Cultural Survival has helped indigenous people and ethnic minorities deal as equals in their encounters with industrial society. We maintain that cultural difference is inherent in humanity; protecting this diversity enriches our common earth. Yet in the name of development and progress, native peoples and ethnic minorities lose land, natural resources, and control over their lives.…

Where the Moose Have No Blood: In Yakutsk, Siberia, the myths are falling, though slowly.

They say the moose in the forests have no hair and no blood. Parents say the children suffer from leukemia and are allergic to apples and jam; their skin breaks out in rashes, and they have trouble breathing. In the nature museum is a stuffed calf that was born here not long ago, a calf with two heads not unlike the two-headed eagle that is the historic symbol of the Russian empire. The world's…

Unnatural Disasters: Pogroms have killed thousands of Bangladeshi minorities; millions more are refugees in India

Unnatural Disasters: Pogroms have killed thousands of Bangladeshi. minorities; millions more are refugees in India. In the West, Bangladesh is a synonym for poverty, a basket-case nation with a soaring population, a pitiful economy, and a plague of natural disasters. Less well known is that the country's minorities have long waged one of the world's most difficult and serious struggles for…

The Quest for Identity

On February 21, 1988, a startling announcement appeared in the Nagorno-Karabagh daily newspaper: The special session of the regional council...of Nagorno-Karabagh resolves...to request the supreme soviets of the Azerbaidzhani and Armenian Soviet Socialist Republics that they appreciate the deep aspirations of the Armenian population of Nagorno-Karabagh and transfer the Autonomous Region of…

Siberian Seminar: In the village of Kazim, activists learn to portray their own culture with video.

In August 1991, we traveled to western Siberia to conduct a field seminar on visual anthropology in the village of Kazim. Our intention was to establish the practice of video ethnography among a small group of native Siberian cultural activists. Members of the Association for Ugrian Salvation, the regional native association, had shown an interest in using these techniques to extend the awareness…

POPULATION TRANSFER: The Tragedy of the Meskhetian Turks

All the nationalities in the vast lands of the former Soviet Union are facing rough times, but few have had to endure such tragic hardships as those that have fallen upon the Meskhetian Turks. Worse yet, these hardship have gone practically unnoticed. Very little documentation a bout the ancient history of this people exists, and no detailed investigations on them have been published. What's more…

POPULATION TRANSFER: The Crimean Tatars Return Home

In 1912, a Russian scholar, L.P. Semirenko, wrote that "even those people who have been in the Crimea for but a month know that the Crimea will perish after the resettlement of the Tatars. They alone survived in this dry steppe by mastering the secrets of extraction and irrigation and by raising livestock and growing gardens where neither Russian, nor German, nor Bulgarian could get along for…

POPULATION TRANSFER: A Scattered People Seeks Its Nationhood

The rich and distinctive culture and tragic fate of the Kurds make up a striking part of the history of the nations of the former Soviet Union. In some ways the situation of the Kurds is worse today than it was between 1937 and 1944, the years of forced relocation under Stalin. The story of the Kurds is an ancient one, dating as far back as the second century B.C. in Turkey, Iran, Syria, Egypt,…

Mapping the Future

Maps provide an orientation. Ancient maps looked eastward, hence the expression." Maps, literally and figuratively, can put things in perspective and people in their place. For most of the twentieth century, the orientation of the world map appeared immutable largely because of the standoff between East and West. Indeed, in the 1950s, '60s, and '70s, the map of Africa underwent a revolution…

Manipulating Territory, Undermining Rights

A close look at world maps reveals that states have created a variety of "ethnic territories" from republics and autonomous regions in the Soviet Union and China to Swiss cantons, ethnic states in India and Burma, Indian reservations in the United States, independent homelands in the Republic of South Africa, and Flanders and Walonia in Belgium. The question arises: are all these administrative…

Last of an Ancient People

Driven even deeper into the Eastern Sayan Mountains by invading Turks in the seventh century. Mongolas in the thirteenth century, and Russians in the seventeenth century, the Tofa ended up in territory that is exceedingly difficult to reach. Not a single road extends into Tofalaria, the land of the Tofa. The rivers flowing out of the mountains are so rough that it's impossible to enter the region…

Indigenes and Settlers: Minorities in Georgia are seeking the same pluralism ethnic Georgians long sought

Indigenes and Settlers: Minorities in Georgia are seeking the same. pluralism ethnic Georgians long sought. For many years, most Westerners complacently assumed a world moving toward interdependence and international cooperation, toward a time when smaller nations would lose their relevance. Resurgent nationalism has challenged that view. As did decolonization in the 1960s, the breakup of the…

From Marx to Muhammad

A kind of cultural myopia often afflicts human beings, causing them to perceive anything foreign as monolithic and making it difficult to distinguish the individual parts that comprise the whole. This has certainly long been true of the Western world's perception of the Soviet Union, to the point where the terms "Russian" and "Soviet" came to appear interchangeable. With the demise of the Soviet…

False Promises: Venezuela appears to have protected the Yanomami, but appearances can be deceiving

False Promises: Venezuela appears to have protected the Yanomami, but. appearances can be deceiving. On August 1, 1991, the president of Venezuela, Carlos Andrés Pérez, signed a startling decree setting aside over 30,000 square miles as a "biosphere reserve." The ostensible purpose is to protect the environment and the indigenous people of the Upper Orinoco and Casiquiare rivers from the…

Culture and Water: A host of Soviet Central Asia's environmental dilemmas stem from its limited supply of water.

In Central Asia, water is in short supply. Centuries-old cultural practices contributed to a variety of ways to use this essential natural resource efficiently, but over the course of 70 years a Russian-dominated, socialist-oriented system replaced many long-standing indigenous practices in agriculture. The result has been less and less land sown to food crops, a deteriorating environment, and…

briefly noted - 16.1

Congo Project Draws Fire A joint initiative of the World Bank and the United Nations Development Project (UNDP) could address some of the difficulties that arise when development groups try to take ecological factors into account. The Global Environment Facility (GEF) would support conservation efforts in developing countries that couldn't otherwise afford them, and several demonstration projects…

At Home in Siberia

To Westerners, the idea of "at home in Sibera" is an oxymoron. To us, Siberia conjures up the image of a barren, frozen land, a land of exile, the Gulag Archipelago. But to a diverse array of indigenous cultures, Siberia is home and has been for millennia. SUSIE CRATE traveled to remote towns and villages in Siberia in 1989, 1990, and 1991, recording traditional songs, stories, and rituals and…

After the Breakup Roots of Soviet Dis-Union

Belarus. Ukraine. Moldova. Kyrgyzstan. Russia. New states clamoring for - and receiving - recognition from the community of international states. It is paradoxical that the very federal system Lenin set up to ensure the viability of the young Soviet Union has torn that state apart. As a compromise to lure Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia, Armenia, and other nations into the young union, Lenin agreed to…

A People Dwindling Under Centralized Rule

In their history and in their present predicament, the Evenk of Khanda have much in common with many dwindling enclaves of native peoples in Siberia. A tiny remnant of a group of one-time reindeer herders, the Khanda Evenk now live as professional fur and meat hunters in a village of some 30 log buildings and associated yurts covered with bark or tar-paper, isolated for much of the year by forest…

A Land Divided: The disappearance of an artificial border in Central Asia is plausible for the first time in 70 years

A Land Divided: The disappearance of an artificial border in Central Asia. is plausible for the first time in 70 years. In their passion to define strict borders and discrete nationstates, the imperial powers of the twentieth century have divided indigenous peoples in the Americas, Africa, Europe, and Asia, separated families and friends, and split fragile cultures already endangered by…