Cultural Survival Quarterly Magazine

Features

On November 7, 1946, Washington’s high society and military leaders celebrated the US nuclear bomb testing at Bikini Atoll in the US-controlled Marshall Islands, having removed its Indigenous inhabitants from their land and poisoned surrounding earth and sea for generations to come. In the wake of this destruction, the occasion of unleashing this most toxic tool of war was “commemorated” with an atom bomb cake and smiles all around. But for the Marshall Islanders, disease, deformity, dispossession, and death were all they would know of the mushroom cloud’s aftermath.
“In the beginning there were only the skies, the earth, animals, and plants. Before humans were to come, the creator called them all together and told them: ‘The humans are coming. They are pitiful. They do not have food or clothes. Will you take care of them?’ The salmon was the first to speak up. He said, ‘I [will] feed them with my flesh.’ The water spirit spoke next and agreed to take care of the salmon and also nourish the hearts and bodies of humans. The deer then promised to give its life for feeding man.
The world has changed. For many, childhood is no longer what it used to be. Hours that might once have been spent in the woods with neighborhood kids is not an experience shared by the majority youth of today. We are living in the digital age, a place where Facebook, the Internet, television, iPhones or any number of distractions have become the norm.
I have never deceived my homeland. I never overlooked the questions raised by the Jharkhand people. The flowing water of the Koyal, Karo, and Chata Rivers is a witness to this. I learnt to write with my fingers in the mud and sand of this land. On the banks of the river Karo, while grazing my sheep, I learnt to bathe and swim. The shade of grass and trees covered with dew filled in the sky, gave me love; how can I sell this? How couldn’t I make the pain and suffering of the society, which taught me how to live, a part of myself?
Our series spotlighting the work of our Board members continues with newly elected board member Duane Champagne. Champagne is professor of sociology and American Indian studies andco-director of UCLA’s Native Nations Law and Policy Center. A member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa, he was born and raised on the Turtle Mountain Reservation in rural North Dakota, giving him firsthand experience of life as a plural citizen of the United States of America and Turtle Mountain Band.
The traditional lands of the Nyikina people are located in the West Kimberley region of Western Australia. It is because of our birth right that we describe ourselves as Yimarrdoowarra, which means belonging to the Mardoowarra, the Fitzroy River. This sacred river country was one of the last fertile regions of the Australian continent to be invaded and colonized by Europeans. Our
Indigenous philanthropy is cost effective, high impact giving, according to a groundbreaking report presented by International Funders of Indigenous People (IFIP).