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THE STATE OF THE PEOPLES REPORT

This special issue of Cultural Survival Quarterly features selections from our forthcoming book, State of the Peoples: A Global Human Rights Report on Societies in Danger, to be published by Beacon Press in September 1993. Cultural Survival has built up an international network of scholars and specialists who help us document what is happening to threatened societies. Both this network and the…

Sub-Saharan Africa: Environment, Politics, and Development

The winds of changes are blowing across Sub-Saharan Africa, a diverse region of 47 countries stretching from the rolling savannas south of the Sahara desert to the coastal mountains and valleys of the Cape. In hundreds of cities and towns, prodemocracy demonstrators have taken to the streets. In over a dozen countries, opposition to one-party rule has led to promises of open elections, and major…

Stealing Lives: Exploiting the Forest

CANADA In the late 1980s, the Alberta government issued 20-year cutting permits, covering no less than a third of the province, to a dozen companies. One lease, to Daishowa, a Japanese pulp and paper company, comprises all the traditional lands of the Lubicon Cree. In addition to clear-cutting, four new pulp and paper mills will use the highly toxic bleached-kraft method. Daishowa started clear-…

Societies in Danger: Death of a People; Logging in the Penan Homeland

It is just after dawn and the sound of gibbons runs through the forest canopy. The smoke of cooking fires mingles with the mist. A hunting party returns, and the movement of the men reveals that they have killed a wild pig. One dart and the people eat for a week. This mountaintop, where generations of Penan have come to pray, looks out over a pristine rain forest, past the clear headwaters of one…

Societies in Danger

1. ANISHINABE The Anishinabe, who inhabit a region often called "the wild rice bowl," face two threats to their cultural and economical relationship with wild rice. The first is the degradation by industrial society of the balanced ecosystem of marshes, lakes, and streams that has supported their culture for centuries. Pollution is reducing yields and destroying natural rice beds. The second…

Report from Vienna

Never before have the problems of the world's indigenous peoples occupied such an important place in the international human rights arena as in 1993, the UN International Year of the World's Indigenous People. Eleven years after the creation of the World's indigenous People. Eleven years after the creation of the UN Working Indigenous People. Eleven years after the creation of the UN Working…

Report from Geneva: the UN Working Group

In July, the United Nations Working Group on Indigenous Populations met successfully with several hundred indigenous leaders, activists, lawyers, and government representatives in Geneva to complete the Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, under development for eight years. The Working Group agreed to include a statement on indigenous peoples' right to self-determination,…

Preface

As an environmental lawyer engaged in protecting threatened ecosystems throughout North and South America, I have witnessed the destruction of rivers, lakes, seas, and forests, along with the ancient societies that occupy these precious environements. Last spring I hosted a meeting on the subject at my home in Mount Kisco, New York> At the table sat the Pewenche cacique (headman) Jose Antolin…

Oceania: Islands, Land, People

Due to colonial neglect and historical isolation, the Pacific Islands, home to the world's most diverse range of indigenous cultures, continue to sustain many ancestral life-ways. Fewer than 6.5 million in all, the peoples of Oceania possess a vast repository of cultural traditions and ecological adaptations. Papua New Guinea alone is home to one-third of the world's languages - about 780…

Nuclear War: Uranium Mining and Nuclear Tests on Indigenous Lands

UNITED STATES Yakima, Colville, Nez Perce, Coeur d'Alene, Spokane, Kalispell, Umatilla, Klickitat Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington state has caused dramatic increases in cancer rates among indigenous peoples. Radioactive gases and fluids released between 1944 and 1977 directly affected fish and wildlife. Eight out of nine reactors at the facility were water-cooled from the Columbia River…

From This Day Forward

For a decade, Rigoberta Menchú Tum, a K'iche' Maya woman, has lived in Mexico, one of thousands of Guatemalan refugees from the counterinsurgency terror engulfing her homeland. In 1992, her efforts to advance human rights in Guatemala gained international recognition when she was awarded the Nobel Peace Price. On February 17, 1993, Menchú addressed the UN Commission on Human Rights in Geneva…

cs canada - 17.3

New Alliance Fighting Development in the Choco Indigenous people and non-indigenous black people in the Pacific coastal region of Colombia have joined forces in an unprecedented show of solidarity to defend their lands and livelihoods. Known as "the Choco," the region is slated for mammoth development - a series of hydroelectric dams, pipelines, new ports, and roads - under the Colombian…

briefly noted - 17.3

Bolivian coca Growers Take On the United Nations In the midst on the UN Year of indigenous People, the United Nations nearly found itself in a court bttle with idigenous Bolivian coca growers seeking compensation for a failed UN crop-substitution program. Begun in late 1992, the lawsuit ensued from an effort to counter UN demands that the growers repay money the United Nations paid them to…