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Rio+20 Demanding Accountability

“Sustainable development is based on the principle that the right to development must be fulfilled so as to equitably meet developmental and environmental needs of present and future generations.” —1992 Rio Earth SummitCoinciding with Cultural Survival’s (CS) 40th anniversary is the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) that will take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on…

CSQ 36.2 June 2012: 40 Years of Advocacy

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Cultural Survival’s 40th Year: Executive Director’s Message

The title Cultural Survival: 40 Years of Advocacy from Brazil 1972 to Brazil 2012 symbolically marks four decades of Cultural Survival’s advocacy partnering with Indigenous Peoples in defending their land, languages, and cultures. Inspired by David and Pia Maybury-Lewis’ early work in Brazil with the Xavante people, our work has now come full circle with the United Nations Conference on…

Arctic Village, Alaska On the Frontlines of Climate Change

Arctic Village is one of the most remote Native villages in Alaska; far away from the noise and turmoil of mainstream society, the only large chaos it consistently registers is climate change.This past summer, Arctic Village saw rapidly shifting weather and its strongest storms.Gideon James is a Gwich’in Elder in Arctic Village who is seeing shifts in fish migration. “I really think the fish are…

Silvia Carrera: A Symbol of Dignity for Indigenous Women in Panama

The Ngöbe-Buglé comarca (Indigenous administrative region), located in western Panama, is the largest of five Indigenous regions of this Central American country. It is home to great wealth, both in mineral (copper) and biotic resources; however, its Indigenous population lives in poverty and isolation in the absence of adequate state accountability, allowing for the highest infant mortality rate…

Human Rights Violations in Guatemala: Hearing Indigenous Voices

On March 13, 2012, thousands of Indigenous people gathered in the chilly highland town of Totonicapan, Guatemala, milling into the town’s soccer stadium to await the arrival of the United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, during her official visit to the country. The day of the month marked Noj, is designated as a day of wisdom according to the Mayan calendar. Old…

The Significance of 2012 for Cultural Survival

2012 is a significant year for the world’s Indigenous Peoples.  It marks the start of a new cycle in the Mayan calendar, Oxlajuj B’aqtun.  It marks the 40th anniversary of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in Canberra, Australia. It is also the 40th anniversary of Cultural Survival!"On March 2, 1972, my husband David Maybury-Lewis [1929–2007], Evon Z. Vogt Jr., Orlando Patterson [all social scientists…

New Wedezé Indigenous Reserve Affirms Xavante Rights to Land in Brazil

David and Pia Maybury-Lewis developed the idea for Cultural Survival following their experience living among the Xavante Indians in Central Brazil during the late 1950s. David was conducting anthropological field research for his doctoral dissertation. They lived in a Xavante community in Mato Grosso state known to the Xavante as Wedezé (São Domingos) that had only recently established peaceful…

“We Belong to the Land”: Samburu People’s Legal Battle to Save Lands in Kenya

In March, during their spring break, University of Wyoming law students Sabrina Sameshima and Matt J. Stannard traveled to Kenya to observe a court hearing involving Samburu people who had been forcibly evicted from their lands. Their group included former Cultural Survival intern Travis LaSalle, now a practicing lawyer, who contributed to Cultural Survival’s investigationof police attacks on…

Spirits of the Forest: Cambodia’s Kuy People Practice Spirit-based Conservation

It was late in the Cambodian afternoon as my Kuy colleagues, Mr. Pak and Mr. Vansakd, and I followed Mr. Phon (a Kuy community leader and elder) down the narrow dirt road leading out of the Kuy village of Svay Damnak to go into the forest. Svay Damnak is located in southern Preah Vihear, on the outskirts of the Boeng Per Wildlife Reserve, a forested area that is part of the greater Prey Lang…

Bazaar Artist: Felicia Huarsaya Vilasante Weaving Futures by Hand

Aymara weaver Felicia Huarsaya Villasante comes from a small community in the Peruvian province of Azangaro about 15,815 feet above sea level near Lake Titicaca. In the 4,450 acre community, residents make their living in myriad ways. Community members raise livestock such as llamas, alpacas, cows and sheep. People in the area cultivate barley, wheat, lima beans, and multiple types of quinoa. A…

2012: Business as Usual

The town of Cajola lies in a valley surrounded by mountains in the highlands of Quetzaltenango, Guatemala. Despite being just a 40-minute bus ride from the second largest city in the country, Cajola feels very much its own: every woman on the street wears the traditional hand-embroidered dress or traje specific to Cajola. It’s 18,000 residents are by large majority Mam Maya, who havemanaged to…