Cultural Survival Quarterly Magazine

Violence on Indian Day in Brazil 1997: Symbol of the Past and Future

Sunday evening, April 20, 1997, the Brazilian television network Rede Globo on its weekly program Fantástico, carried the tragic story of a Pataxó Indian of Bahia who had been brutally murdered. The Pataxó are the same indigenous people whom Pedro Alvares Cabral encountered in his "discovery" of Brazil in 1500.

UPDATE: Native North America; Sports and the Native Spirit

From lacrosse to the blanket toss, sports in native traditions have evolved and endured. Whether their origins are spiritual, survival, or entertainment based, sports have always played and continue to play an important role in Native American culture.

UPDATE: India; Debate on the Warli's Future in India

Development always comes with a price. For centuries, the environment and the native people have borne the price of our development. With rising pollution levels, scarce green pockets, and increasing cases of pollution related diseases, environmentalists in India are now debating whether or not the country is paying too high a price.

The Pan-Mayan Movement: Mayans at the Doorway of the New Millennium

The Mayans have struggled for centuries against marginalization and the lack of educational and economic opportunities. Besides the internal warfare which lasted more than 30 years, Mayans had to deal with other forms of indoctrination, fear, and death as a result of guerrilla warfare, army scorched earth policies, and civil patrols.

The Indigenous Role in Guatemalan Peace

On December 29, 1996, huge crowds gathered in Guatemala City's central square and cheered representatives of the government, military, and guerrillas as they signed the "Accord for a Firm and Lasting Peace." While this accord represents the first step in what will be a difficult and demanding process of reconciliation and reconstruction, it nevertheless reflects an extraordinary political achie

The Indigenous Movement in Brazil: A Quarter Century of Ups and Downs

As late as 1980, Brazilian Indians had not organized themselves in any coherent political movement, either at the local or at the national level.

Self-determination and Activism Among American Indians in the United States 1972-1997

During the 1960s, tribal governments qualified for federal funding and for the first time, they gained considerable access to funds and personnel that were usually limited and tightly controlled under Bureau of Indian Affairs (Big,) administration.

Processes of Change and Indigenous Participation

Recent years, especially in the last decade, have seen increasing indigenous involvement in the national political life of Bolivia. As in many other countries of Latin America, indigenous peoples have begun to make their voices heard. This is especially significant in Bolivia where the majority of the population, 57%, is indigenous. Changes in the State

NOTES FROM THE FIELD: New Ethnic Law in Mexico?

Since January 1, 1994, the Chiapas rebellion has been predominantly a marathon of various negotiations. Most recently, the negotiations between the Mexican government and Zapatista rebels revolve around legal issues. In Mexico, indigenous groups lobby to be legally recognized as a distinct ethnic and cultural component of the nation.

NOTES FROM THE FIELD: Death of the Dance; Cultural Change and Religious Conversion Among the Maya in Southern Belize

Many masked dances in the Maya culture have pre-Columbian roots and were incorporated into the Catholic celebration calendar after Spanish contact and conquest. Dances historically performed by the Maya cultures in southern Belize are no exception. The Cortez, Deer, Devil, and Monkey dances, performed by the Mopan and Kekchi, all have a Catholic facade covering a Maya history.

NOTES FROM THE FIELD: Building Fair Trade in Chiapas

Chiapas is one of Mexico's poorest states and has the country's highest concentration of indigenous people. Historically, indigenous peoples have been marginalized in their pursuit of land, resources, and capital.

Introduction: 25 Years of the Indigenous Movement in the Americas and Australia

For over 500 years, the chronicle of almost any 25 year period of contact between indigenous peoples and colonists in the Americas or Australia has been quite simple. The Indians and Aborigines lose.

Indigenous Peoples Six Years After the New Colombian Constitution

The National Association of Peasants was created in 1970 to implement agrarian reform in Colombia through the office of the National Indigenous Secretariat. Because the peasant movement was not directly concerned with the Colombian indigenous movement and their cultural demands, indigenous organizations were formed to demand cultural rights and the recuperation of resguardo lands.

Indigenous Peoples in International Law

The international system's contemporary treatment of indigenous peoples is the result of activity over the last few decades. This activity has involved, and been substantially driven by indigenous peoples themselves.

Ecuador's Indigenous People: "We Seek True Participation"

In order to speak about the last 25 years of the indigenous movement in Ecuador, we should locate ourselves within the wider context and the historical situation. In order to understand the dynamics of our movement, we must look at the causes.

Ecuador 1972-1997: Indigenous Peoples and the Crisis of the Nation-State

The indigenous uprisings during the Festival of Inti Raymi in 1990 and 1994 exposed a weakly masked ideological project: the 19th century liberal construction of a project to convert the Indian subject to a white-mestizo citizen. This underlying liberal ideology in Ecuador saw the "Indian" as a passive and animalized `other' that must be liberated.

DEDICATION: With deep sadness we dedicate this issue of the Cultural Survival Quarterly To the Memory of Al Ortiz

Alfonso Ortiz was associated with our organization from its earliest beginnings, 25 years ago. A distinguished Native American anthropologist and activist, he immediately consented to be on our Advisory Board and encouraged us to persevere in our work on behalf of indigenous peoples at a time when many doubted whether small human rights organizations could make much of a difference.


The Saami people are struggling to obtain rights to self-determination and management of natural resources. The land which the Saami traditionally occupy lies within the borders of four countries: Sweden, Finland, Norway, and Russia. Reindeer herding and fishing, important sources of livelihood, are valuable factors in the perpetuation of the Saami culture and also lie within those borders.

BRIEFLY NOTED: Indigenous Peoples Fight Park Service in the US

Native peoples are often adversely affected by efforts to protect natural resources by state agencies. According to a newly formed alliance, this is no different in the U.S. The Alliance to Protect Native Rights in National Parks recently formed to defend and protect native peoples who have found part or all of their ancestral homelands under U.S. National Park Service management.

Brave New World or More of the Same?

Twenty five years ago it was widely assumed that indigenous peoples were dying out; that they were either being physically extinguished by disease and the savage onslaughts of the modem world or that they were abandoning their indigenous identities and disappearing into the mainstream of the societies that surrounded them. This assumption was quite wrong.

BOOK REVIEW: How Real People Ought to Live; The Cashinahua of Eastern Peru

How Real People Ought to Live is a revised collection of Ken Kensinger's presentations and papers on the Cashinahua of eastern Peru which draws from 93 months of fieldwork conducted over the past 40 years.

Australian Aboriginal Property Rights Under Threat

It took over 200 years to achieve, and it is described as the single most important legal decision in Australian history. In 1992, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander native title property rights were recognized by the highest court in the land. In 1997, these rights are under threat.