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World Bank to Fund Grants Facility for Indigenous Peoples

The World Bank has announced it will give $600,000 per year for three years to establish a grants facility for indigenous peoples. The plan was presented at the July meeting of the U.N. Working Group on Indigenous Populations in Geneva, Switzerland. By supporting a grants facility run by indigenous peoples, the World Bank hopes to address the three main complaints usually expressed about its…

WGIP Demands Renewed Commitment

While the 21st session of the United Nations Working Group on Indigenous Peoples (WGIP) concluded an hour early, there is every indication for a long life for the U.N. mechanism that launched the indigenous peoples’ liberation movement in global politics. The meeting offered innovative initiatives for dynamic dialogue, record participation of indigenous peoples, and intuitive interventions…

U.N. Spotlights Indigenous Youth

The hallmark of Cultural Survival’s work in the international indigenous rights arena over the past 31 years has been the depth and diversity of our programming. The problems faced by the world’s indigenous peoples are of such gravity and scope that we decided early on that a multi-faceted approach, bringing to bear the expertise of scholars and specialists from all walks of life, was warranted.…

The Realities of a Tribal-to-Federal Relationship

The United States Congress may have ended the century-old Alaska Native land claim when it passed the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) on December 18, 1971, but it also cast doubt on the viability of tribal governments in Alaska. By turning fee simple title over to state-charted corporations, ANCSA attempted to avoid the shortcomings of an apparently flawed reservation system. But by…

Teaching Tibetan in Tibet: Bilingual Education is Survival

The “Tibet Question” has become one of the focal points of disagreements between China and the international community, and the survival of Tibetan culture and language is one of the key topics of the debate. While both the Chinese authorities and exiled Tibetans have linked their political agendas to the question of protecting “cultural rights” in Tibet, these are also contentious issues within…

Talo Dam Green Light Downstream Communities in Peril—Djenné Project

The Djenné Project, a Cultural Survival Special Project, sponsored a research team from Clark University in 2001 to investigate the effects of building a dam in Talo, Mali. The Clark report demonstrated that the dam would disrupt the natural environment and produce deleterious effects on the downstream population and the Niger Inland Delta. A moratorium was placed on the Talo Dam’s construction…

Serving the Bering Straits: The Kawerak Nonprofit Corporation

Kawerak, Inc., the nonprofit arm of the Bering Straits Native Corporation,1 is a tribal consortium that provides non-health services throughout the Bering Straits Region. The Kawerak board consists of the presidents or chiefs of the 20 federally recognized tribes in the region, two elder representatives, and the chair of the Norton Sound Health Corporation (NSHC)2 board. Kawerak was incorporated…

Saving Money, Gaining Freedom: Women’s Microcredit Banking in India

I started working in the remote areas of western India in 1981 with the youth organization Chhatra Yuva Sangharsh Vahini, a nonpartisan group with a Gandhian philosophy. I still remember the incident that caused me to move from Mumbai (Bombay) to a village in Satara District of western India. Our group had organized a long march in the drought-stricken areas of the western region of Maharashtra.…

San Reach Landmark IPR Benefit-Sharing Accord for Diet Pill

In March 24 elected representatives of the San peoples in South Africa, known as the South African San Council, and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), an arm of the South African government, jointly announced that they had reached an agreement to share the benefits projected to result from the development of a potential blockbuster diet pill. This agreement was the…

Review: Indigenous Movements, Self-Representation, and the State in Latin America

Indigenous Movements, Self-Representation, and the State in Latin America Edited by Kay B. Warren & Jean E. Jackson University of Texas Press 2002 ISBN 0-292-79138-0 (hardcover) 0-292-79141-0 (paperback) Reviewed by Jessica Mazonson Indigenous organization and self-representation is a complex, seemingly paradoxical concept. An assumption has historically been made that “indigenousness”…

Review: In the Arms of Africa: The Life of Colin Turnbull

In the Arms of Africa: The Life ofColin Turnbull By Roy Richard Grinker University of California Press 2001 ISBN 0-226-30904-5 Reviewed by Ian S. McIntosh The life and loves of superstar anthropologist Colin Turnbull is the subject of In the Arms of Africa by Roy Richard Grinker. This scrupulously researched and beautifully written biography draws much from Turnbull’s own copious field notes and…

Alaska Natives Resolve to Maintain Tribal Sovereignty

I was born in the territory of Alaska on July 9, 1950, in the Inupiat community of Unalakleet, on the eastern coast of Norton Sound, Alaska. My parents are Irene Pan’niuq (nee Koutchak) and Stanton Talialuk Katchatag. “Unalakleet” is the anglicized version of the Inupiaq name for Ungalaqliq, “the place where the winds blow constantly.” Local residents say Unalakleet's Inupiaq residents mostly…

Working Together: Chilkoot Indian Association and Haines Borough Collaborate to Benefit Tribal Members’ Futures

The Haines Borough is a municipality organized under Alaska State Code. The Chilkoot Indian Association is a tribal government organized under the Indian Reorganization Act of 1941. While the tribe functions apart from the Haines Borough, tribal members live integrated with borough residents. The 400 tribal members live just as everyone else, scattered throughout the municipality, which has a…

Wool Processing Takes Off—Black Mesa Weavers for Life and Land

A rare and endangered breed of sheep, the Navajo-Churro produces one of the finest fleeces for weaving in the world. Churro wool is long and glossy with a broad spectrum of colors ranging from pure white to a deep black. The fleece is particularly suited for weaving because of its ability to accept dyes purely and evenly. Internationally, the worth of Churro wool can be upward of $7 per pound…

Review: Global Uprising

Since the 1999 WTO protests in Seattle, a new kind of worldwide activism has gained recognition. The events of the so-called “battle of Seattle” fostered increasing interest in the long-standing anti-corporate globalization movement, and created a model for future mass actions. The movement has generated a great deal of excitement due to its non-hierarchical modes of organization and its…

Review: Development as Freedom

Development as Freedom By Amartya Sen Anchor Books/ Random House 1999 ISBN 0-385-72027-0 Reviewed by Raymond Coderre In the mid-1970s, noted American political scientist Seymour Lipset concluded that “the more well-to-do a nation, the greater the chances it has of sustaining democracy.” Lipset’s assertion was based on numerous empirical studies conducted under the auspices of the Hoover…

Nurturing Athabascan Unity and Sovereignty Across Alaska: The Tanana Chiefs Conference

As the second-largest private employer in Fairbanks, the nonprofit Tanana Chiefs Conference (TCC) must advocate on behalf of member tribes from a distance, while providing as much local control as possible for 42 Athabascan tribes in interior Alaska. Begun in 1962, it has been a political, economic, legal, and social advocate for its member tribes during a rapidly changing period in Native…

Models of Sovereignty and Survival in Alaska

The cultural survival of this country’s indigenous populations is dependent on our ability to maintain our cultural values, practice our ancient traditions, and control and govern our own communities. But American Indians and Alaska Natives have historically been subject to federal policies that have sought to annihilate or assimilate Native Americans. More recent policies have supported the…

Leading Bameno

My name is Penti Baiwa and I am Huaorani from the community of Bameno in the Ecuadoran Amazon. I have always lived in the forest in the communities and have seen what is happening to us. I wanted to do something to help my people. I know how we live as Huaorani and the big problems we are facing. There are problems with the oil companies. No one wanted to help our people in the communities so I…

Indian Country in Alaska: A Rhetorical Analysis

In 1943 the United States Secretary of the Interior set aside 1.4 million acres of land as a reservation to protect the hunting and fishing grounds of the Gwich’in people of Arctic Village and Venetie (Venetie Reserve). The U.S. Congress later extinguished 23 reserves in Alaska, including Arctic Village and Venetie, through the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) of 1971 (see page…

First Rosebud Wind Turbine Generates Support: An Interview with Intertribal COUP Secretary Robert Gough

The first tribally owned wind generator was dedicated on the Rosebud Reservation on May 1. The Intertribal Council on Utility Policy (Intertribal COUP), which represents northern Great Plains tribes and promotes wind power as an alternative to less-sustainable energy generation such as coal power, hopes the turbine will set the foundation for a broad wind-generating plan for the region’s tribes (…

Dukha Meet With Mongolian Government—Totem Peoples’ Preservation Project

A delegation of six Dukha (Tuvan) reindeer herders met in June with Mongolian government officials in Ulan Bator to speak about their culture and the challenges their people face for survival. It was the first time a group of Dukha had ever met with the Mongolian government. “What you have done, no one else has ever accomplished in the history of Mongolia,” said Radnaa Yenchev, Mongolian…

China’s Tribal Farmers Face the Global Market

“I arrived at the market at 2 a.m. this morning,” said Mrs. Liu as she spread out her precious produce on the floor next to her friends. Her exotic fruit, vegetables, and fungi freshly gathered the day before were selling quickly. Not everything had been gathered from the forest this time. Solarlum leaves were a favorite among shoppers, prized for their aromatic flavor when eaten raw as a salad.…

ANCSA, An Act of Self-Determination: Harnessing Business Endeavors to Achieve Alaska Native Goals

Alaska Native corporations have come a long way and matured a great deal in the three decades since they were created under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971, known as ANCSA. While many people say this act was an experiment in capitalism on a grand scale, it is important to stress that the designers of the experiment were Alaska’s indigenous people. What they sought—and achieved—was…

Alaska Native Health Care: A Profile of Successful Self-Determination

The Alaska Native Health Care System is a diverse and multi-faceted system that has developed over the last 30 years. It represents many diverse organizations for Alaskan people. Alaska has 229 federally recognized tribes that live across 586,412 square miles of predominately roadless land—the underlying reason for the creation of the innovative and essential statewide health system. The rural…

Alaska Native & Tribal Rights Protection Plan

While some of this plan’s goals involve actions aimed at influencing outside parties such as political leaders, the media and others, many of the goals listed below revolve around the ongoing need to coordinate in an effective manner within Alaska’s Native/Tribal community. 1. To protect the inherent rights and special political relationship of Alaska’s Native peoples, including federally…