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TWO INDIGENOUS DEVELOPMENT AGENCIES SUPPORT LOCAL TAMACHEQ INITIATIVE

AN EXPANDING ROLE FOR WOMEN IN TIMBUCTOU The American Friends Service Committee, a U.S.-based NGO, began work with Tamacheq refugees near Goundam in the region of Timbuctou in 1982. In contrast to many agencies, they were concerned not only with the delivery of food and project assistance, but with increasing local participation and training personnel who could eventually assume direction of the…

The Mayan Renaissance: Sna Jtz'ibajom, the House of the Writer

Suddenly, voices of the dead, silenced for hundreds of years, are speaking out, revealing their names, their ages, their great accomplishments, even to a degree, their personalities. Suddenly, the Mayan heroes of Mexico and Central America engraved in stone, carved in wood a thousand years ago are emerging from ghostly images enveloped in mysterious glyphs. A thousand years ago, the Mayan city…

The Mangrove Action Project: At the Roots of the Sea

The Mangrove Action Project is a response to the fate of the world's remaining mangrove forests and the people who depend on them. Rapid industrial development is destroying mangrove forests at an alarming rate worldwide. Especially damaging to these important coastal forests is the recent expansion of prawn aquaculture. The prawn industry has gown in both Asia and Latin America, earning immense…

Papermaking in the Colombian Amazon

A papermaking project supported by Cultural Survival is helping Colombia's Macuna Indians find economic self-sufficiency and a sense of control over their own destiny. The Macunas are one of the more organized indigenous communities in the Amazonian rain forest, in an area declared an indigenous reserve in 1988. The community in Centro Providencia has been a local leader in self-development,…

Native Journalists: Setting the record straight on media stereotypes

The artistic and financial success of Kevin Costner's Dances with Wolves plus the 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus' errant voyage to the Western Hemisphere have caused the mainstream media to put American Indians on their agenda in a big way for the first time since the illegal occupation of Wounded Knee, South Dakota in 1973. All this attention is not necessarily good. When articles…

Mind Over Matter: Reflections on the state of the Peoples Tour

"Was it worth it?" I am of two minds about the State of the Peoples Tour, since I am both Pokagon Band Potawatomi and a staff member of Cultural Survival. As the CS staff member responsible for organizing the Tour, I see it is being worthwhile because people did go away from the events more aware of gross violations of group rights around the world. But was it worth it from an indigenous person's…

Drought, Rebellion and Social Change in Northern Mali

For over six hundred years, the Kel Tamacheq - also known as the Touareg - have grazed their herds across the vast desert regions around and far beyond the northern bend of the Niger River in Mali. Over the past two decades, a combination of environmentally devasting droughts, changing economic patterns and civil war have left the Tamacheq impoverished and disenfranchised. Determined to retain…

Chiapas Update

One week before this CSQ was sent to the printers, armed guerrillas, the Zapatista National Liberation Army, marched into San Cristobal de Las Casas, in Mexico's state of Chiapas. Here, and in several other towns, the violence drew world-wide attention to an area characterized by endemic inquality and conflict overland, resources, and labor since the early 16th century. As the fighting continues…

A Native American Perspective on NAFTA

Native Americans stand to lose jobs, land rights and legal status under the new North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which removes trade barriers between the U.S., Canada and Mexico. All of these countries have large indigenous populations, as do Chile and much of Central America, which will soon be added to the Free Trade Zone. But NAFTA fails preserve the basic rights for indigenous…