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Another Way of Envisioning the World

Luz María de la Torre Amaguana is an Otovalo Kichwa woman who, in her native Ecuador, is something of a rarity: an Indigenous academician whose research, writing, and teaching are informed by her unique perspective as an Indigenous woman. She earned her master’s degree in political science at FLASCO (Ecuador), and her undergraduate studies were in applied linguistics, specifically bilingual…

Visitation Rites

For some of Embera People, ethnotourism offers a last economic lifeline. The Darien, which encompasses the border region between Panama and Colombia, used to be one of the least accessible places on earth and a refuge for the region’s Indigenous Peoples. Then came the Pan American Highway, conflict in Colombia, and Panama’s insatiable hunger for development. All of those things put…

Aftermath

The 2008 earthquake in China's Sichaun Province caused massive damage and held the world's attention for weeks. But little attention was paid to the region's Indigenous Peoples. Here is a look at how they are coping in the wake of the quake and their attempts to survive the recovery effort. I awoke to the sound of the rooster call on a cold November morning in Jing Jia Cun, a small…

Under The Guns

In June 2009, the world was made dramatically aware of Amazonian Indigenous Peoples’ issues as police in Peru opened fire on peaceful Native demonstrators who had blocked roads. The roads were obstructed to protest President Alan García’s move to accommodate the U.S. Free Trade Agreement by giving logging, mining, and other concessions to industries on Indigenous territories in the Amazon.…

Eyes of the Forest

For the Indigenous Peoples living in the dense forests between the Rio Tapajós and the Rio Madeira in Brazil, the seeds of the plant known as guaraná are the cornerstone of their culture. For centuries, tribes like the Sateré Mawé and the Guarani have selectively bred and carefully cultivated Paullinia cupania to produce the most potent seeds. In the local language “guaraná” translates as “the…

Sand Script

Walking Thunder is a Diné medicine woman. She recently gave a talk at the Ringing Rocks Foundation about her people’s spiritual traditions and particularly about sand painting as a healing tool. The article that follows was adapted from that talk. First I want to tell you about the colors, about the sand in sand paintings and what it symbolizes. Long ago, sand was a messenger when…

Culture Warriors

In the fall of 2009, the Katzen Gallery at the American University Museum in Washington featured an exhibit of Aboriginal art called Culture Warriors. This traveling exhibition originated at the National Gallery of Australia as part of the Australian Indigenous Art Triennial. The triennial began in 2007, which was the 40th anniversary of the 1967 Referendum, when non-Indigenous Australians voted…

The Eyes of the Forest

For the Indigenous Peoples living in the dense forests between the RioTapajós and the Rio Madeira in Brazil, the seeds of the plant known as guaraná are the cornerstone of their culture. For centuries, tribes like the Sateré Mawé and the Guarani have selectively bred and carefully cultivated Paullinia cupania to produce the most potent seeds. In the local language “guaraná” translates as “the…

The Year in Review: A Message from the Executive Director

On March 6, 2009, the New York Times reported that two prominent Kenyan human rights activists, Oscar Kamau Kingara and John Paul Oulu, were shot and killed at close range while their car was blocked in heavy traffic in Nairobi. What the Times didn’t report was that the two men were en route to a human rights meeting where they were to report on persistent Kenyan police brutality and impunity…