Cultural Survival Quarterly Magazine

The Valley of Gold

Indigenous people in Chile’s Huasco Valley have held onto their land and their identity for 4,000 years despite conquerors, dictators, and a dominant culture that didn’t recognize their existence. Now they face a new threat, one that glitters.

The Secret Life of Beads

For outsiders, the elaborate beadwork worn by Maasai herders may seem nothing more than a colorful decoration that enlivens ceremonies and dancing. But for the Maasai themselves, the beads capture their whole world.

The People of the Corn

For Mexicans, maize is not a crop but a deep cultural symbol intrinsic to daily life. Corn was domesticated from a grass called teocintle by the peoples of Meso-America approximately 10,000 years ago. Often referred to as humanity’s greatest agronomic achievement, maize is now grown all over the world.

Sharing One Skin

I am from the Okanagan, a part of British Columbia that is much like most of California in climate—very dry and hot. Around my birthplace are two rock mountain ranges: the Cascades on one side and the Selkirrks on the other. The river is the Columbia.

Land and Resources

With a population estimated at 40 to 50 million and with 400 identified ethnic and linguistic groups, indigenous peoples represent approximately 10 percent of Latin America’s population.

Human Rights Delegation Finds Colombia Guilty of Crimes Against Humanity

In September a delegation of human rights experts from Europe, Latin America, the United States, and Canada, including representatives from the United Nations and the European Union, investigated the state of indigenous peoples in Colombia and issued a statement charging the government with crimes against humanity and other, lesser charges.

For the Love of Furniture

Big-Leaf mahogany is one of the most valuable types of wood in the international market and highly prized by furniture makers. As a result, it has been logged from most of its original range. The one area that still contains significant numbers of mahogany trees is the Madre de Dios region of the Peruvian Amazon, and loggers are flocking there despite the trees being protected.

Fighting for the Right Rights

This edition of the Cultural Survival Quarterly, which focuses on the rights of indigenous peoples to their lands and resources, goes to press during the count-down to the United Nations General Assembly’s adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Fighting for Rights in the Philippines

Joan Umaming Carling has been an indigenous rights activist in the Philippines for 20 years, and has been associated with the Cordillera Peoples’ Alliance (CPA), an indigenous organization, for more than 12 years. Thanks in part to her work there has been a growing recognition of indigenous issues in the Philippines, but also a growing repression from the government.

Extraction: In Colombia, a Mine Takes Much More from the Land than Coal

“It was very beautiful. There was plenty of food; the people here hardly ever got sick because everything was clean; there was a beautiful pond, unpolluted. This was what life used to be like here. It was very safe; you could go wherever you wanted, at any hour of the day or night…

Who is Indigenous? Who is Afro-Colombian? Who Decides?

One of Cerrejón’s key claims in justifying its refusal to recognize the collective rights or even the collective existence and identities of the communities around the mine is that they are not, in fact, indigenous or Afro-Colombian.

Digging Chile

Since the 1980s, the Chilean government, hoping to bring the country into the global market, has dramatically increased development.

Cultural Survival Lobbies Guatemalan Congress for Indigenous Radio Rights

In November, Cultural Survival executive director Ellen Lutz traveled to Guatemala to lobby congressional representatives there, hoping to convince them to pass a new law that would finally give full legal rights to community radio stations in indigenous areas.

Coal and Wayuu in Venezuela

We will not be removed from the lands where our ancestors are buried. We are defending the animals, the forests and the water. This planet can’t withstand any more contamination. What good is all this wealth from oil and coal if we are dying of diseases and misery? Several years ago they pushed out some of our people to make a coal mine.

Australian Apocalypse. The Story of Australia's Greatest Cultural Monument by Robert Bednarik

Australian Apocalypse. The Story of Australia’s Greatest Cultural Monument By Robert Bednarik Melbourne: Occasional AURA Publication No. 14. Australian Rock Art Research Association Inc., 2006. ISBN 0-9586802-2-1 Reviewed by Ian S. McIntosh

Aborigines Win Ownership of Perth

In a ground-breaking decision, an Australian federal judge has found in favor of an Aboriginal land claim that would give the Noongar people native title to an area of 2,300 square miles, including offshore islands and the city of Perth, which has a population of 1.7 million.

A Forest of Their Own

In recent years, indigenous people have been awarded title to their own lands in many countries as a result of a well-funded effort by international land conservation organizations. Now, many believe, indigenous peoples can finally determine their own destiny by governing their own lands. But what does the creation of indigenous reserves really mean to indigenous peoples?