Skip to main content
 

Turtle Lung Woman's Granddaughter

Turtle Lung Woman grew up hearing stories about Crazy Horse, Red Cloud, and Sitting Bull; she was 28 when the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota was established. She was a highly respected medicine woman who lived according to the “old ways” and transmitted her knowledge to her granddaughter. In Turtle Lung Woman’s Granddaughter, Delphine Red Shirt relates her mother Lone Woman’s…

Warã Archive Tour Brings Cultures Together

The Warã Archive Project is teaching Brazilians about Xavante culture and fostering cultural exchange among its youth. The archive, a project of Cultural Survival, has become one of the largest sources of Xavante information in the world. An exhibit of photographs and artifacts from the archive has toured several Brazilian museums, including Jataí and Goiânia. While the exhibits were on…

Video for Life

The clicking computer keys can be heard on the dusty steep slope of Sixth Avenue in Sololá, in the mountainous southwest of Guatemala, overlooking the scenic Lago Atiitlan. The sounds originate from a popular internet café operated by an indigenous women's association. Nutzij ("my word" in Mayan Kaqchikel), also known as the Centro de Mujeres Comunicadoras Mayas, trains indigenous women in…

The Money Problem

Funding is the primary obstacle for indigenous peoples doing film work. Throughout the past two decades, indigenous communities in Latin America have engaged in video production. Indigneous videomakers often link with supportive projects and institutions in countries throughout the Americas and beyond to generate funding and support training, production, and wider distribution. In many…

The Many Meanings of Technology

Indigenous peoples are pragmatic. When an innovation makes life easier, or more comfortable, or provides other desired benefits, indigenous peoples are as likely as anyone else to incorporate it into their lives. And, when such changes are of their own choosing, they comfortably adapt their cultures to them. That was true in the 1600s when indigenous North Americans absorbed guns, horses, and…

Surviving the Chilean Economic Miracle

Chile’s treatment of indigenous peoples and forests is a warning that all is not well with the free market. When pressed for evidence that free market globalization can work to create a better world, most advocates point to Chile as the Latin American model of neoliberalism and its economic prescriptions—privatization, free markets, export-led growth and deregulation. Since the days of…

Sovereignty Unplugged: Wireless Technology and Self-Governance in the Navajo Nation

In the vast spaces of the U.S. Sourthwest, the Navajo are embracing the internet to improve social services and protect their culture. When Denise Ganadonegro first started working as the community services coordinator for the Alamo Chapter of the Navajo Nation, she mostly heard from residents when they had complaints. “ The community was telling us that we need services here, asking why…

Resources for Indigenous Film and Video Makers

Funders and festivals where indigenous media makers can find support. Indigenous Organizations In order to stimulate the growth of indigenous video, several independent collectives have formed in Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, and Mexico. Major funding for these organizations has come through sources such as the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation, which supports…

Owning the Future: An Interview with Melissa George

As a traditional owner of her Aboriginal country, Melissa George has some suggestions for those in Australia concerned about the environment. Melissa George is Wulgurukaba, her clan is Nwalgibain, and her language group is Wulguru. She works to secure the recognition of indigenous rights and interests in environmental and natural resource management—locally, nationally, and…

Onondaga Nation Files Land Rights Action Covering Swath of New York State

The Onondaga Nation refuses to be ignored when environmental policy concerning their ancestral territory is being determined by outside actors. On March 11, the Onondaga filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court of Northern New York against eight defendants, including Governor George Pataki, the City of Syracuse, and the State of New York. The Onondaga want a judge to declare that they never…

Old and New Threats to Uncontacted Peoples

In May 2003, Ecuadorians learned to their astonishment of the deaths of 12 Taromenae older men, women, and children who were part of a community that had voluntarily isolated itself from Western civilization. Those responsible for the massacre were a group of Huaorani, Amazonian indigenous people who were once considered to be particularly violent and resistant to contact, who were forced by…

Mursi Threatened with Relocation by Ethiopian National Park

Within the next year, the Mursi could face government removal from their traditional lands in Ethiopia to make way for a privately managed park. Through a verbal agreement, the Ethiopian government and African Parks Foundation, a private nonprofit organization based in the Netherlands, will assume management of Omo and Mago National Parks. National parks have existed on Mursi land for over 30…

Missing: Where are First Nations in National Media?

Technological innovations in communications and the media constitute a growing factor in the restructuring of basic assumptions that have informed the socio-economic and cultural fabric of many societies. The tremendous acceleration of information flow and the reshaping of traditional cultural and economic exchanges have given rise to an information, communication, and knowledge-based society.…

Indigenous Peoples at the World Summit on the Information Society

More than 11,000 people from 175 nations gathered in Geneva, Switzerland, two years ago to discuss the digital revolution that in a matter of years has changed the lives of nearly everyone on the planet. The United Nations and the International Telecommunication Union convened the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) to address the potential new technology holds, and also tackle…

Christian Discovery and Indian Sovereignty

In March, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that lands owned by the Oneida Indian Nation of New York could be subject to city taxes. Indian Country Today columnist Steven Newcomb analyzes the case. At issue in the case City of Sherrill, New York v. Oneida Indian Nation of New York, is roughly 18,000 acres of land within the area of a historic Oneida Indian Reservation of…

Bilingual Education on the Air

Ampam Karakras is a man on a mission. A Shuar from the Ecuadorian Amazon, he recalls the days when the Shuar (or Jivaro as they were then known to Westerners) were famed for their secret technique of shrinking human heads. As a youth, he was sent to boarding schools run by Salesian Catholic priests where he learned Spanish and was educated in Western ways. But unlike indigenous boarding school…

An Epic Battle of Whales, Rabbits & Warriors

Indigenous peoples have relied on oral tradition to communicate ideals, morals, and life lessons since time immemorial. Kept among blood relations, such a mechanism for maintaining traditional knowledge is ingenious, portable, and indestructible, unless the community that holds the knowledge is wiped out. In the last 500 years, aboriginal peoples have survived the onslaught of worldwide…

Activist Technology 101

The digital revolution has brought technological advances that make international communications for isolated communities easier than ever before. Unfortunately, the tools that activists in cities take for granted are unknown to most rural indigenous people. Ledama Olekina is the founder and executive director of Maasai Education Discovery, an organization based in Narok, Kenya, that provides…

Aboriginal Territories in Cyberspace

Indigenous peoples are making their own spaces online, using art as the backdrop for cross-cultural dialogue. Cyberspace—the websites, chat rooms, bulletin boards, virtual environments, and games that make up the internet—offers Aboriginal communities an unprecedented opportunity to assert control over how we represent ourselves to each other and to non-Aboriginals. This article…

A Question of Frequency: Community Radio in Guatemala

With basic equipment, Guatemala’s Maya are using the radio to keep their communities informed and to strengthen a fragile democracy. The upbeat notes of marimba music fill the air early on a February morning, emanating from households throughout the town of Concepción Chiqurichapa, Guatemala, who are listening to Radio Mujb’ ab’l yol. Between songs, the voice of a young disc jockey…

Indigenous Russians Unite Against Oil and Gas Development

Indigenous leaders of the island of Sakhalin in the far east of Russia have joined forces as a new wave of oil and gas development on the island encroaches on their traditional lands. On March 25-26, representatives of the Nivkh, Orok, Evenk, and Nanai peoples of Sakhalin held a congress in the town of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk. Roughly 3,000 indigenous people make up about one-half percent of…

Come Together: Dukha Participate in World Reindeer Herding Conference with Totem Project Support

Diverse reindeer herder cultures span nearly a dozen countries in the northern-most regions of North America, Europe, and Asia. For the last three years, they have come together in Yakutia, Russia, for the International Reindeer Herders Congress to exchange information and increase cooperation on initiatives that effect their livelihoods. In March, Cultural Survival’s Totem Peoples…

Indigenous Man Honored with Reebok Award

A Mixe man from Oaxaca, Mexico, is among the winners of the 2005 Reebok Human Rights Award for his use of video to improve the lives of indigenous and peasant communities. Carlos Rojas, 28, was awarded the prize on May 11 during a ceremony at the University of California, Los Angeles. He received $50,000 to help further his work. As a child, Rojas’ father’s family urged him to forget…