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The Role of Women in the Struggle for Environmental Justice in Ogoni

On the April 25, 1997, the Federation of Ogoni Women's Associations (FOWA), an umbrella organization for all women's groups in Ogoni, the oil rich Niger Delta region of Nigeria, made a resolution. It stated "It is resolved that Shell cannot and must not be allowed in Ogoni...we say no to Shell as it remains Persona non grata in Ogoni." This pronouncement, amongst five other resolutions, were made…

Burma's Elusive Liberation

No pie chart, list, nor map, patchworked with stripes and dots, can properly convey the beautiful yet tragic complexity of Burma's population. Inhabiting a diamond-shaped land the size of France, people representing cultures from the far reaches of Asia have been thrown together for many centuries. Migrating along great rivers -- the Salween, the Chindwin, the Irrawaddy, the Mekong -- they formed…

UPDATE NATIVE NORTH AMERICA: Taxation and NY State Reservations

Taxation on Native American reservations is an issue that has plagued tribes and courts at all levels for decades. This issue has come to a head in New York state with a US Supreme Court ruling in February 1994 on the Attea case, named for Milhem Attea and Bros. of Buffalo, NY, a licensed cigarette stamping agent and non-native. This case began in 1989 when regulations were imposed by the state…

UPDATE AUSTRALIA: Aborigines Reject Proposal to Amend Act

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders Commission (ATSIC) just released its comments on the Australian federal government's proposed changes to the 1993 Native Title Act. While it was agreed that there was a need to carefully monitor the type of claims being proposed by Aborigines, ATSIC considered the draft amendments to be totally unacceptable. In putting forward a 10-Point Plan to amend…

Tribes

New York: Clarkson N. Potter, Inc., 1997. $45 (cloth) ISBN 0-517-70368-8 Like most Americans of my generation, I grew up with the television. My family was the first on the block to acquire a small "black and white," and suddenly I had more friends than I knew what to do with. Besides providing a lesson in basic sociology, the television was a mesmerizing window to the world. I remember most…

The Life and Death of David Alex and the Ongoing Struggle for East Timor

The Indonesian military quickly buried David Alex in a cemetery in Dill, the capital of Indonesian-occupied East Timor, after he died on June 25, 1997. The authorities did not allow his family to see the body. Indonesian soldiers had captured David Alex the previous day in the outskirts of Baucau, the second largest town in East Timor. The Indonesian military (ABRI) had been hunting him for many…

NOTES FROM THE FIELD: Indigenous Peoples and Democracy in Latin America and Bolivia

The issue of indigenous peoples is one of the most timely national and international concerns. We use the terms indigenous and campesino (or peasant) indiscriminately in Bolivia and Latin America, as the majority of the poor are indigenous peasants. Indigenous People and the Nation-States of Latin America The last 15 years have produced significant changes in the relations between indigenous…

Roads and Development in Eastern Congo: Declining Livelihoods and Growing Self-Reliance Among the Lese and Efe

Mail arrived yesterday from Kuli, the clinic health worker. It had been over nine months since we last received word from the Lese and Efe who run the community clinic and primary school in the Ituri Forest in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo. Kuli must have been determined to share with us the latest information about his community, Andisengi. He had walked 100 miles out of Lese…

Memories of Solidarity: Anthropology and the Indigenous Movement in Latin America

The unfinished relation between the indigenous people of Latin America and Euroamerican humanitarians has followed a line of delicate and ambiguous dialectics. These dialectics began with the contradictory letters of Columbus to the Spanish Crown and was continued through five centuries with the unequivocal defense of the Indians by Bartolomé de las Casas, and the repeated attacks on native…

Maasai and Barabaig Herders Struggle for Land Rights in Kenya and Tanzania

East African pastoralist societies face greater threats to their way of life now, than at any other time in the recent past. With the creation of game parks, private ranches, and commercial wheat estates, Maasai herders, in particular, are fenced off and evicted from lands that were traditionally and legally theirs. Increasingly, Maasai and other pastoral group are creating their own NGOs (non-…

Introduction: World System, Local Peoples

We hear a lot about the "world system" these days, especially since the implosion of the former Soviet Union has enhanced the idea that we do all inhabit one world after all. North Korea, perhaps the only unregenerate communist state still left, is literally dying of starvation. The rest of us, whether we live in America or China, are trying to get used to a new world dominated by multinational…

Indigenous Peoples of the Russian North

Twenty five years ago, few Westerners comprehended the ethnic complexity of the Russian Federation, especially in its Asian hinterlands. Even fewer realized that this ethnic mosaic included some 30 Northern aboriginal peoples, most of whom live in Siberia (Asian Russia), and maintain their cultural traditions despite over a half-century of heavy pressures to assimilate into Soviet state and…

CS IN THE CLASSROOM: The Curriculum Resource Program at Cultural Survival

The Curriculum Resource Program creates classroom materials that teach about indigenous peoples, ethnic minorities and human rights at the high school level. The program's goals are to make Cultural Survival's work and resources accessible to secondary school students; to implement multicultural education in the promotion of tolerance, conflict resolution and respect for others and other ways of…

CS IN THE CLASSROOM: Student comments

The Last Lesson by Jane Brokaw, 9th grade, BCDS "History this year has been very important and informative. I have learned a lot about many cultures, and this year I began to reflect more on the culture or topic instead of just writing an answer...I think one of the most important lessons came at the end when we studied the Cree and the Aborigines. This lesson taught me how sheltered but lucky we…

CS IN THE CLASSROOM: Final Essay

The Aboriginal Struggle for Cultural Survival. Excerpts from final essay by Luis Rego, CRLS Upon arrival of the British in Australia in the late 1700's, they claimed about half the continent as a new colony. It was supposedly vacant land, terra nullius as they called it, which illustrates the utter disregard of Australia's British colonizers for indigenous Aborigines. Aborigines were declared…

CS IN THE CLASSROOM: Commentary

Betsy Grady, Ed.D., Head Teacher, Social Studies, Cambridge Rindge and Latin Pilot School. "Teaching a high school introductory course on anthropology is a daunting and challenging task. Most introductory textbooks and materials are written for a college audience and are unfortunately antiquated, tedious, and bland. Most of these texts also spend a good deal of time explaining evolution, the…

BOOK REVIEW: The Guinea Pig; Healing, Food, and Ritual in the Andes

The popularity of the guinea pig in Andean regional cuisines has long offered an apt example of cross-cultural differences in food consumption for North Americans, who grimace at the thought of eating a household pet. In this volume, beautifully illustrated with his own photos, Edmundo Morales places the consumption of this high protein delicacy into its cultural and economic context. There are…

BOOK REVIEW: Nation Making; Emergent Identities in Postcolonial Melanesia

Volumes of essays do not always have the rationale that sustains this excellent collection. In bringing together views from a single region, contributors enhance one another's perspectives in the timely reminder that, despite categorization ("nations" in the making, a "postcolonial" Melanesia), individual trajectories take their own paths. Nation-making is taken as an imaginative exercise which…

BOOK REVIEW: Indigenous Peoples, Ethnic Groups and the State

David Maybury-Lewis has written a very timely book on an extremely important and much misunderstood topic: the nature and relations of ethnic groups and the disastrous political processes that are sometimes set into motion between such groups within larger policies. He writes candidly about past genocides in the Americas and elsewhere that have left their conflicted legacies of subordinate and…

The Question of Minority Identity and Indigeneity in Post-Colonial China

China's indigenous peoples are generally referred to as "minority nationalities" given their official status in the Chinese administrative structure. This rubric does them a disservice, obscuring not only their own indigenous identities, but also the nature of multiculturalism and multiethnicity in China. It also fails to recognize the dramatic revitalization of ethnic culture taking place in…

SPECIAL PROJECTS UPDATE: Amazonian People's Resources Initiative; Building Partnerships in Health, Education, and Social Justice

In 1995, the Amazonian People's Resources Initiative (APRI) launched an integrated community defense program among the Urarina, a semi-nomadic, hunting and horticultural society of eastern Peru's Chambira Basin. APRI's Chambira Basin program promotes the political and economic empowerment of the Urarina peoples by securing the Urarina's access to primary health care, culturally appropriate…