Cultural Survival Quarterly Magazine

Features

United States nuclear, biochemical, and missile testing in the Marshall Islands has been, from day one, an enterprise of scientific colonialism. Exploiting the relative isolation of these islands and these ocean people, the US managed the environment and health consequences of their militarism through “out of sight, out of mind” and “the solution to pollution is dilution” policies. These strategies worked in the short term for those living in distant corridors of power.
Indigenous communities are increasingly utilizing international human right mechanisms to advocate for their rights. This past June, Honduras’ obligations under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights were reviewed by the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights at its 58th session. In August, Cultural Survival spoke with Jose Gaspar Sanchez, the general coordinator of sexual diversity and equal rights at the Council of Indigenous and Popular Organization of Honduras (COPINH).
Tsai Ing-wen won the presidential election of Taiwan on January 16, 2016 by a large margin, earning over 56 percent of the vote. The election results signaled a turning point in Taiwan’s democracy, with the Democratic Progressive Party winning a majority of the seats in the legislative yuan (lawmaking body) as well. Tsai accepted the “will of the Taiwanese people” as a sign that citizens wanted a significant change from former failed policies and unfulfilled promises.
The Ponca Nation has lived on the reservation near Ponca City, Oklahoma since the federal government moved the tribe from Nebraska in the 1870s. Ponca City is also home to corporations, factories, and oil refineries that contaminate the environment with toxic chemicals. The fish in the Arkansas River, an important food source for the Ponca people, have been dying, and the Ponca Nation is suffering from abnormally high rates of cancer. Meanwhile, the city has placed the municipal dump on a Ponca burial site.
Located on the border of northern Colombia and northwestern Venezuela, the Guajira Peninsula was once an ecologically rich territory, full of tropical rainforests and an array of biodiversity, flowing with a plentiful supply of clean water and air. However, since transnational companies began buying land across the peninsula in the 1980s, principally for coal extraction, the landscape has become increasingly bleak. The water is now murky and polluted; drought and deforestation have caused the once fruitful lands to become arid and barren.
Between 1946 and 1958, the United States detonated 67 nuclear bombs in their Pacific Proving Grounds on, in, and above Bikini and Enewetak Atolls in the Marshall Islands, a part of the United Nations Pacific Trust Territories. Hydrogen bombs, especially the March 1, 1954 Bravo test, were immensely destructive. Visible from 250 miles with a mushroom cloud stretching 60 miles across, Bravo vaporized several small islands, left a mile-wide crater on the atoll, and generated heavy radioactive fallout across a 50,000 square mile area.
Oral tradition for Indigenous Peoples has long been a mechanism to share ancestral knowledge. Mother tongues have kept ancient wisdom alive and have contributed to the global transmission of collective community knowledge. Communication from generation to generation, from the guardians of our planet, our grandmothers and grandfathers, to grandchildren, has permitted continued care for the earth.
In the district of Toledo in Belize, Maya people represent more than half of the population, living in approximately 39 villages. The Maya have their own ancestral government system and a history of relation to the land for thousands of years, with their own language and distinct culture. Maya leaders are currently strengthening their right to collective land title of their homeland and the protection and conservation of their resources while finding innovative ways to strengthen their identity as a people through the revitalization of their culture, language, and spirituality.

OUR ANCESTORS: The Original Entrepreneurs

The idea of entrepreneurship isn’t a new concept among Native people. Our ancestors have always practiced entrepreneurship—it was called survial. Farmers, hunters, fishermen, women, artisans, and traders were all entrepreneurs because it was how they provided for their people.

Organization of American States Adopts Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

The General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS), during its 46th regular session from June 13–15, 2016 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, adopted the American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples after a lengthy and complex negotiation process between member states and representatives of multiple Indigenous Peoples of the Americ

Life, Sacrifice, and Achievement: On the Front Line of the Battle for Indigenous Rights

Cultural Survival’s Indigenous Rights Radio (IRR) Program uses the power of community radio to inform Indigenous communities of their rights and focuses on how these rights are being implemented around the world.

Shaldon Ferris: Indigenous Rights Radio Producer

Cultural Survival welcomes our newest team member, Shaldon Ferris. Ferris was born in Kliptown, Johannesburg, South Africa. His mother’s maiden surname is Damakwa, and he identifies with this KhoiSan South African tribe. His search to discover his roots has led him on the path to become an award-winning filmmaker.