Cultural Survival Quarterly Magazine

Wind Powering Native America

“You are either at the table, or you are on the menu," a Wisconsin utility executive advised Rosebud Tribal Utility Commission Attorney Robert Gough.

Weaving a Future for Tibetan Refugees: Tibetan Rug Weaving Project

The recent history of Tibet has been one of sorrow. Despite the relative impenetrability of its mountains, it was invaded and occupied by armies of the Communist Peoples Republic of China in 1950.

The State of Amazonas in Pieces

A plan before Brazil’s House of Representatives calling for the division of the state of Amazonas could have a significant impact on the indigenous peoples who live there.The state of Amazonas in the northern region of Brazil, represents one-fifth of the Brazilian territory and possesses 33 percent of the world’s rainforest reservations.

The Changing Sinai

Ahlan, Nora!” exclaimed the two Bedouin boys who had just come to the door of my art gallery in Dahab, Sinai. I have worked for 20 years in the Sinai as a photographer, and know many of the Bedouin families there well. Because Laura is an unusual name for the Bedouin, they call me the more common name Nora, which means “Light” in Arabic.

Spiritual Hucksterism:The Rise of the Plastic Medicine Men

“Yes, I know of Sun Bear. He’s a plastic medicine man.”— Matthew King, Oglala Lakota Elder, 1985

Shamanisms and Survival

Shamanism, humanity’s most ancient spiritual practice, has undergone a dramatic modern resurgence. The concept of shamanism is widely utilized in contemporary spiritual healing groups and has gained such popularity that traditional healers have adopted the term to tell outsiders about their practices.

Shamanism Defends a People

In 1984 the Gitxsan of northern British Columbia, Canada, and the neighboring Witsuwit’en First Nation launched a landmark land claims case in response to incursion on their territories culminating in clear-cut logging operations. In this lengthy case, called Delgamuukw v.

Seeking the Shaman

In this issue of Cultural Survival Quarterly, readers are introduced to the extraordinary category of people who have come to be known as “shaman”—those otherworldly men and women chosen by the spirits to mediate between the human and spiritual dimensions.

Canadian Supreme Court to Rule on Historic Metis Rights Case

When Steve Powley and his son Roddy were charged for hunting moose contrary to the province of Ontario’s Game and Fish Act 10 years ago, they claimed that, as Métis, they had a right to hunt for food. The Powleys won the case three times in lower courts before the Ontario government appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Better Living in the Village<br>A Well-Balanced Development Policy in Benin

The “top-down” policy of development implemented in Benin gives an absolute priority to medium and large-sized towns, to the detriment of the rural areas of the country.

Ayahuasca: Shamanism Shared Across Cultures

Ayahuasca is a sacred brew that has a long history of ritual use among indigenous groups of the Upper Amazon. It is made from the stem of the ayahuasca vine (Banisteriopsis caapi, or in Quechua, “the vine of the ancestors”) and the leaves of either the chacruna (Psychotria viridis) or chagropanga (Diplopterys cabrerana).

Among Spirits and Dieties:Diverse Shamanisms in the Nepal Himalayas

A recent anthropological emphasis holds that there is not one universal shamanism, but many shamanisms. The diversity of shamanistic and mediumistic practices in Nepal supports this argument.

American Indian Movement Resolution

Sovereign Diné Nation, Window Rock, Arizona May 11, 1984

Ainu Shamanism:A Forbidden Path to Universal Knowledge

The Ainu are the largest indigenous population of Japan. They descended from the first peoples on the Japanese archipelago, commonly referred to as the Jômon, who migrated there more than 10,000 years ago.

A Sustainable Future for the Pimbwe: Peoples of Mpimbwe Fund

The area known as the Mpimbwe Division, lying at the northern end of Tanzania’s Rukwa Valley, is home to the Pimbwe people. Lakes Katavi and Chada are sacred to the Pimbwe, and their former chiefs are believed to be buried at Lake Chada where the Pimbwe god Katabi can be seen driving herds of hippopotamus along the shore.

A First Nation, Again<br>The Return of Self-Government and Self-Reliance in Canada’s Nisga’a Nation

Edtor’s note: This article is adapted from a speech given by Joseph Gosnell on March 3, 2003, for the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at the Harvard Faculty Club in Cambridge, Massachusetts.


Rara! Vodou, Power, and Performance in Haiti and its DiasporaBy Elizabeth McAlister University of California Press 2002ISBN 0-520-22823-5

Resolution of the Fifth Annual Meeting of the Elders Circle

Northern Cheyenne NationTwo Moons’ Camp Rosebud Creek, Montana USA October 1980

Pumé Staking a Claim in Venezuela: Pumé Project

Indigenous groups are often intimately connected with the land they inhabit.

Manuscripts for Peace in Mali

“Tragedy is due to divergence and because of lack of tolerance … Glory to he who creates greatness from difference and makes peace and reconciliation,” —Timbuktu manuscript entry by El Hadj Oumar Tall (1797)

Keeping Their Own Records<br>The Record of Truth Participatory Photography Project

The Karen are the largest ethnic minority in Myanmar (Burma) (see CSQ 24:3). Due to an ongoing civil war with the Burmese military regime, more than 120,000 Karen have fled Burma. Many now reside in refugee camps in Thailand.

Healing Makes Our Hearts Happy

Oma Djo, a highly respected elderly Ju/’hoan healer, referred to n/om spiritual energy as something that “helps keep us alive.” N/om lies at the heart of the Ju/’hoan practice of healing, a practice that follows the pattern of classical shamanism.

Glass Menand Spirit Women in Papua New Guinea

Missionaries have seriously impacted the world’s rich diversity of traditional religions. In Papua New Guinea, the loss of traditional spiritualities has been particularly severe because most groups experienced first contact with the West in the last 100 years. Novel religious forms have come into being, however, through the collision of cultures.

Friends of the Kel Essuf: Perspectives on Shamanism in Tuareg Mediumistic Healing

The Tuareg are a semi-sedentary, Islamic, socially-stratified Saharan people who live in Niger and Mali, West Africa, and speak Tamajaq (a Berber language). Several types of healers serve among the Tuareg (also known as Tamashek), and many of them are believed to have a special contract with spirits called Kel Essuf (“people of the wild, solitude, or nostalgia”).

Contemporary Chinese Shamanism:The Reinvention of Tradition

Xu Ma tossed and turned in a disturbed sleep, lost in a land covered with green grass and trees that rolled on and on as far as she could see. Many times in past nights she had witnessed that same scene and awoken in a sweat. An enlarged lump had appeared on her wrist at about the same time the dreams had begun, and she felt a throbbing pain that continued to worsen.

Compassionate Development in the Himalayas

Arya Tara School opened in Kathmandu, Nepal, in winter 2000 with the profound vision of assisting young Tibetan Buddhist nuns to get a full secular and Buddhist education to enable them to fulfill their potential and act on their vows of compassion in practical ways.

Turkey and Armenia:<br>Is There Any Other Solution Than Dialogue?

Dialogue Across an International Divide: Essays Towards a TurkishArmenian Dialogue By Taner AkcamZoryan Institute 2001ISBN 1-895485-03-7  

Pre-Christian Healers in a Christian Society

Armenia, an independent republic formerly within the Soviet Union, was the world’s first country to adopt Christianity as its national religion in 301 A.D. Consequently, one might assume that few traces remain of pre-Christian ways—and then only in remote villages and ancient monasteries lost in the mountains. A closer examination, however, dispels this stereotypical view.

Coming Together:Buryat and Mongolian Healers Meet in Post-Soviet Reality

In late afternoon in June 1996, Lake Baikal was blue-gray and wavy, still too cool for swimming. Men, women, and young boys were unloading a boatload of fish onto shore in a huge net, and then tossing them into a truck. Buryat and Mongolian shamans, as well as academics from around the world, had gathered in the Baikal region for a conference on Central Asian shamanism.