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Turning the Refugee Tide

"We don't know where he comes from or who his family is, but maybe when he's ready he'll tell us," said 87-year-old Benjamin Kagarazfa, the "mayor" in a small section of a Mozambican refugee camp in Zimbabwe. He rubbed the boy's head as if he was soothing a frightened little goat. "His name is Samieri. He came by himself last week but one, on a Monday." Kagarazfa, like Samieri, lives in the…

Land, Language, and Leadership

When the light-skinned people came, they brought new things. They took the Jul' hoansi and they all went to live together in Tjum!kui where the white people taught them work and gave them white people's food. It happened sometimes that they would suddenly leave their work and go and look for bushfoods, but the white people wore them down and eventually they gave in. Some worked and worked and at…

The Permanent Tension

For better or worse, the integrating winds of "modernity" can't be kept out of most of the indigenous, communal world that still exists in the remote mountains of Oaxaca, Mexico. Nor do communities here necessarily want them kept out. On the contrary, Oaxacan indigenous communities often seek out the urban-industrial society. Clearly, however, this meeting holds great risk for indigenous peoples…

Technology Serves Traditional Values: The Nez Perce Tribe is applying contemporary science and technology to managing its natura

"The Earth is part of my body... I belong to the land out of which I came. The earth is my mother." These words by Toohoolhoolzote, a Nez Perce chief, reflect the vital, enduring relationship between his people and the land. Spoken over a century ago during negotiations with the government of the United States, they describe a way of life the tribe still observes. The environment remains central…

Self-Determination and Resources: A Survey of U.S. Indian Forestry

Indians are among the largest owners of commercial forestry resources in the United States. Indian tribes control 16 million acres of forest land - 7.3 million acres classified as commercial forest and 8.7 million acres classified as woodland. In an ever increasing number of cases, the tribes themselves administer and control these resources, even though the Department of the Interior holds…

RESOURCE AND SANCTUARY: Indigenous Peoples, Ancestral Rights, and the Forests of the Americas

RESOURCE AND SANCTUARY: Indigenous Peoples, Ancestral Rights, and the. Forests of the Americas The Celebrated "Earth Summit," the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development held in Rio de Janeiro, is fast receding, but the UN is helping keep our vision in focus by declaring 1993 the Year of the World's Indigenous People. During this year, the "developed" world has a further…

On the Road to Sustainable Forestry

Protagonists in the nineteenth-century Caste War of Yucatan, the Maya of the rain forests of central Quintana Roo long frustrated any exercise of Mexican sovereignty over their homeland. But in 1901 a Mexican army contingent penetrated their forest buffer, occupying the Mayan redoubt of Noh Cah Santa Cruz Balam Nah (now Felipe Carillo Puerto). As the twentieth century has progressed, outsiders…

Navajo Forestry Faces a Cultural Challenge

In 1991, the Navajo tribal government assumed primary management responsibility over the forest resources on the reservation. It immediately found itself in a highly public controversy over the cultural implications of that task. Ironically, this conflict aries from the resilience of the Navajo, or Dineh, as they call themselves, who have succeeded in recovering from near-destruction in the mid…

Many Things to Many People: Aboriginal forestry in Canada is looking toward balanced solutions.

Until recently, it was possible to envision Canada as an endless expanse of trees stretching from sea to sea. Today our forests are in jeorpardy. For the Algonquin Indians of Barrière Lake in Quebec, for the Gitksan and Wet'suwet'en Nations in British Columbia, for the Nishnawabe-Aski Nation in Ontario, and for many other First Nations throughout Canada, forest management has become a synonym for…

Justice and Democracy

This lights are on at the White House, President Clinton has rolled up his sleeves and sent a signal that his administration intends to tackle tough problems. IN public appearances and his first major address to Congress, Clinton displays a refreshing openness to new ideas. Even the skeptical express strings of hope. A friend recently confessed "feelings for the President." The President's…

Indians, Forest Rights, and Lumber Mills

The road from Santa Cruz to San Ramon is now paved almost to the railroad bridge over the Rio Grande, an improvement from the mud and ruts I encountered on my first trip in 1984 to work with the forest-management project in Lomerio. Along the way, travelers pass cotton and sugar estates with hordes of destitute temporary workers, and later through a Kansas-like landscape colonized by Mennonites.…

Ethics, Economics, and Ecosystems

Canada exports more timber than any other country in the world. It also has one of the world's highest rates of deforestation, leading to questions about the current approach to logging and about who benefits from the industry. In the following interviews, indigenous leaders in British Columbia address these questions from three perspective. The first interviews are with Simon Lucas and Richard…

briefly noted - 17.1

Five years of effort by a small Aymara community in the Bolivian Andes have been rewarded by the return of 48 sacred weaving that were stolen by dealers in ethnic art during the 1970s and 1980s. Working with U.S. native groups, anthropologists, and legal experts, the people of Coroma have been searching for weaving taken from their community for sale on international markets. At a September 1992…

An Experiment in Rainforest Conservation

In Ecuador, indigenous organizations are key actors in an ambitious experiment to transform the face of rainforest use and management. Since the discovery of oil in the country over 20 years ago, their homelands have come under severe development pressure, and Ecuador now has one of the highest rates of tropical forest deforestation in South America. At the same time, indigenous people and…

A Natural Harvest

Located in the Peruvian Amazon, Cooperative Forestal Yanesha (the Yanesha Forestry Cooperative - COFYAL) represents an encouraging new idea for indigenous communities struggling to control their traditional culture and land and to participate in wider economies. Founded in 1986, COFYAL has become the first indigenous co-op in Amazonia to export forest products to Europe and the United States. Co-…

"The Trees Will Last Forever": The integrity of their forest signifies the health of the Menominee people.

"The Trees Will Last Forever": The integrity of their forest signifies the health of the Menominee people When tribal chair Glenn Miller travels, he is proud to say he is Menominee and points to the tribe's forest, which will likely look the same in 500 years as it does now. Not only that, adds David Grignon, a tribal planner. "The forest today is what it was 200 years ago when the Old Ones…