Cultural Survival Projects – 1984

Author

Since 1972, 60% of Cultural Survival's limited funds have gone to support field projects. This year, as in past years, some projects have ended, others are ongoing and some new ones have been undertaken. The following update provides a brief overview of the projects Cultural Survival currently supports.

How Are Projects Selected?

Cultural Survival, rather than designing projects, responds to requests either from Indian communities, their regional organizations or Indianist support groups. But Cultural Survival cannot respond to all groups in need of assistance; our budget thus far has permitted support for about 15% of the requests received. To make funds most effective, we select projects which 1) address representative problems faced by small societies in many areas and 2) allow for extensive documentation and analysis.

By confronting common (widespread) problems we can, on the one hand, respond to a few groups' urgent needs and, on the other, generate data for case studies useful in developing methodology and theory to help other populations. Documented results are disseminated to concerned individuals, human rights groups, development organizations and, when deemed appropriate, national governments. Cultural Survival also provides emergency assistance such as medicine, travel funds, or advocacy during periods of urgent violations of human rights.

What is a Representative Problem?

Physical decimation, either from murder or introduced diseases, threatens numerous distinct ethnic populations; it sparks justified outrage and demands immediate action in the form of denunciation, demands for cessation, or international intervention and monitoring. Such gross violations of human rights usually cannot be confronted by field projects. Local development projects nonetheless serve a vital function and perhaps can prevent some atrocities. Genocide or other extreme human rights violations often occur after a long process of gradual social erosion and economic marginalization which weakens a population's ability to defend itself as a group. Terms such as "assimilation" and "integration" usually serve only to mask, and thus make more palatable, the destruction of the social fabric which binds a group, provides it with a voice, and permits an integrated program for controlling their future.

Cultural Survival's field projects develop from a concept of culture which defines it as a set of social mechanisms which permit a society as a group to have a sense of itself, to comprehend its situation, and to adapt to changing circumstances. Cultural survival is not the preservation of a romantic status quo, but rather the maintenance of these mechanisms. Cultural Survival takes the position that societies do change and that it is not for outsiders to determine whether indigenous people are being "true to themselves." The organization responds to the needs expressed by native peoples themselves, not some outsider's idealized image of an appropriate life.

Typical requests fall into two general categories:

1. Specific proposals which request assistance to improve the lives of native people. Foremost among these are reports which address the fundamental need for a secure territorial base. In addition, there are requests for appropriate education, access to credit, assistance to grass roots organizations, improved health care, and opportunities for locally managed economic activities.

2. General requests to eliminate the abuses ethnic groups face from the dominant society, such as:

- Political domination

- Violence and other forms of repression against ethnic minorities

- Absence of equal rights and justice under the law

- Distorted or Eurocentric histories

Cultural Survival's field projects generally assist groups that are anticipating or undergoing radical social change, groups which are often at critical crossroads in their social and economic evolution where alternatives do exist. Cultural Survival's projects are selected with the goal of providing groups with as much control as possible over economic and social variables which will permit them the flexibility and control necessary to prevent their becoming marginalized victims.

Cultural Survival attempts to demonstrate that culturally sensitive alternatives are not expensive and need not impede national development. Below are descriptions of Cultural Survival projects from 1984.

BRAZIL

UNI - Uniao das Naçoes Indígenas

While the interests of Indians in Brazil have been represented by non-Indians for several years, recently native populations have begun to develop their own organizations. The National Indian Organization (UNI) was formed in 1980, but it took two to three years for it to take the lead in defending the human and civil rights of native peoples. Working in close contact with the non-Indian support groups, UNI has begun to take part in activities previously dominated by the government's National Indian Foundation (FUNAI).

UNI's first request for funds from Cultural Survival was approved in April, 1983. Modest CS support permitted UNI representatives to establish an office and to obtain official recognition. Funds also allowed UNI to maintain regular contact with disparate Indian communities and thus assist Indian community leaders in presenting their needs, claims, and rights to FUNAI or other appropriate national and international organizations.

Increasingly UNI has publicized complaints by Indian communities and prepared documents and reports on the social, economic and political situation of indigenous groups in Brazil. These documents are disseminated to local communities, government agencies and international support groups. UNI also helps communities design and present requests for economic assistance which reflect real needs and promote environmentally sustainable development.

In February 1984, UNI published a pamphlet to inform Brazilian Indians in clear, non-technical language, of Indians' legal rights' and of FUNAI's role and obligation to the indigenous peoples living in Brazil. The pamphlet explains presidential decrees, legislation currently under consideration and existing legislation affecting Indians.

The Journal Indigena, a UNI publication first printed in July 1984, describes the Second National Convention of Brazilian Indian People, held in Brasilia from April 2-5. Over 500 Indian leaders attended, representing 85 Indian nations. In the meeting, participants discussed land conflicts between Indians and colonists in different parts of the country and FUNAI's inability to resolve disputes and questions assuring Indian land rights. They also discussed ways to fight new and pending legislation: the Brazilian Civil Code, a series of Federal laws and acts promulgated in 1983 that constitute a threat to the Indian Statute which protects Brazilian Indians' rights, and government attempts to open all Indian areas to mining.

Cultural Survival has continued its support of UNI through a grant from an anonymous donor.

COLOMBIA

FUNCOL - Health Program for Indian Communities of Eastern Colombia

Three years ago FUNCOL (Fundacion Comunidades Colombianas), a non-profit organization based in Bogotá, helped design and implement a village-based primary health care program which combines Western and traditional medicines in the small, isolated Indian communities in the northeastern Llanos region of Colombia. Peoples of these communities include the Piapoco, Tunebo, Betoyes, Chricoa, Hitnu, Guahibo, Cuiba, and Sikuani. Most lack access to Western medical services. To treat their various health problems, they relied on traditional medical knowledge and practices, often inadequate for treating parasitic and infectious diseases. Such illnesses are exacerbated by widespread malnutrition and are common in communities near urban centers whose members are in regular contact with outsiders.

The project provides primary health care to communities through approximately 30 paramedics, selected by local leaders and shamans, and trained by licensed, professional nurse-practitioners. During a two-week session, the paramedics learn basic principles of public health, primary care, and medical practices. They then return to their respective villages and work under the guidance of their instructors. In addition to providing primary health care, the paramedics compile medical records on such matters as morbidity, mortality and births. Eventually each community will be provided with a dispensary of basic medical supplies.

In January and February 1984, Cultural Survival provided funds to permit a physician, Dr. Edward Belongia, to travel to Colombia to evaluate the project. He was favorably impressed by the practitioners' medical and social skill and the appropriateness of the treatments provided. Cultural Survival continued its support in July 1984 to enable FUNCOL to expand the program. At present, the program affects about 2,500 Indians in three areas. In addition to the immediate health benefits for these communities, the project could serve as a model to be replicated in other areas of the world.

ECUADOR

Awa (Coaiquer) Land Demarcation

As part of a regional development project (Proyecto Tobar Donoso), the Ecuadorian government plans to build a road which will pass through the traditional lands of the Awa Indians (known commonly and perjoratively as Coaiquer), a population of approximately 680 isolated in the high tropical forest of northwestern Ecuador. It is imperative that their traditional lands be titled and demarcated before colonists move into the area and settle lands along the road. As a result of a 1980 project supported by Cultural Survival to promote land titling among the Awa, the Ministry of Agriculture made a formal commitment to undertake the demarcation and titling of Awa lands before further development took place.

In March 1984 Cultural Survival provided funds to the recently formed Awa cabildo (the council representing the Awa population) to enable members to travel to Quito where they met several times with Agrarian Reform Agency officials charged with land titling and with representatives of Indian organizations which have more experience in pushing for land demarcation. The Agrarian Reform Agency authorized the Awa cabildo to cut a trail encircling their territory. With the assistance of James Levy, a former Peace Corps volunteer who has spent three years working with the Awa, they completed the trail in late May, 1984. On June 5 the Awa presented maps delineating their territory to the Agrarian Reform Agency, the Ministry of Foreign Relations and other interested organizations. Several minor steps still remain before the Awa obtain legal land title, but the Agrarian Reform Agency has begun preliminary demarcation.

Levy's continued participation in the land titling process has been requested by all parties involved, Awa and government officials alike. Cultural Survival has therefore agreed to provide him with subsistence funds to further his efforts to 1) assist the Awa cabildo to obtain official title for demarcated, reserve land; 2) teach them organizational skills, and develop an organizational structure to incorporate the Awa communities; and 3) help obtain national identity papers for all Awa.

Mr. Levy will serve as a liaison between government offices (the inter-institutional commission), the Awa cabildo and CONACNIE (Ecuador's national Indian organization) to assure Indian involvement in all phases of work.

Cultural Survival will provide additional support for demarcation and titling of Awa lands, as well as funds to assist the continued organizational and economic development of Awa communities. This aid, in addition to direct technical assistance, will be managed by the National Indian Organization (CONACNIE) in collaboration with the various government organizations also involved in Proyecto Tobar Donoso. The project thus provides direct, essential assistance to a small threatened society while also helping to link it to the national Indian organization.

CONFENAIE

At the First Regional Congress of Indian Nations of the Ecuadorian Amazon in August 1980, the Confederacíon de Nacionalidades Indígenas de la Amazonia Ecuatoriana (CONFENIAE) was established to promote the solidarity of these nations and their organizations. In March 1982, Cultural Survival began to support CONFENIAE, which represents five regional-level organizations and has begun to incorporate the three smallest and relatively unorganized tribal groups in the region, the Cofan, the Siona-Secoya, and the Huaorani.

The goals of CONFENIAE, in addition to the consolidation of Indian communities, are to obtain land titles for the various groups and to develop locally managed and ecologically appropriate agricultural and forestry projects. For communities embroiled in land disputes with colonists, however, land titling is a long and difficult process; they meet with stiff resistance from wealthier, established colonists.

Since Cultural Survival's support began, CONFENIAE has held three Congresses, during which delegates elected new officials and discussed matters ranging from education to land rights. In addition to the approximately 16 delegates, the Second Congress was attended by a large number of other Indians who presented their views.

CONFENIAE representatives participated in the Second Meeting of Ecuadorian Indian Nations organized by CONACNIE and held in Quito from April 11-14, 1984. Most Ecuadorian Indian nations and Indian organizations sent representatives, as did Indian organizations from several other countries.

With Cultural Survival's support, CONFENIAE publishes a quarterly "Amanecer Indio" (Indian Dawning), which is distributed among member groups. The results of meetings are published in the bulletin, as is information on the problems confronting various groups in Ecuador's Amazonian region.

CONFENIAE also participates in national development projects. Leaders have worked to involve the organization in a large forestry and resources management project being directed by Ecuador's Ministry of Agriculture.

In July 1984, Cultural Survival provided funds to CONFENIAE to allow the organization's president to attend and present testimony at the meeting of the recently formed United Nations Working Group on Indigenous Affairs in Geneva, Switzerland.

CONFENIAE 'held its Third Congress in November 1984.

FOIN

Soon after Cultural Survival initiated support of CONFENIAE, the Board of Directors approved a request from one of its member federations, FOIN (Federación de Organizaciones Indígenas del Napo). FOIN coordinates the activities of the Quichua communities (total population approximately 25,000) in the Upper Napo River Valley, promotes and develops Quichua community organizations, and strengthens ties with similar organizations at both a regional and national level.

FOIN's activities include organizing numerous meetings and seminars in different areas around such themes as agricultural technology, animal husbandry, accounting, administration, marketing cooperatives and civil rights. The organization trains community leaders and promotes Quichua cultural pride. They have sought to incorporate new communities, and there are now some 68 centers affiliated in FOIN.

Since 1982, Cultural Survival and Oxfam-UK have jointly supported the organization with modest operating grants. In the past two years, FOIN has made considerable progress, both in stimulating activities in rural areas and carefully managing its finances. They have gotten support from different government agencies to construct a multi-service headquarters. In July 1984, the organization was granted corporate status. It is now one of the more active and well-organized groups in the Ecuadorian Oriente.

In this past year, representatives of FOIN participated in meetings in Lima, Peru, on Indian human rights and, with a special grant from Cultural Survival, called a General Meeting of FOIN Delegates in August 1984 to discuss land problems which affect them directly as new development schemes emerge for the Ecuadorian Oriente: expanded oil exploration and exploitation, increased lumbering, and expansion in agroindustrial production, all of which make land titling for their lands more urgent.

Shuar Program of Bicultural Radio Education

The Shuar Indians, representing about one third of eastern Ecuador's 90,000 native people, have become one of the most effectively organized Indian groups of Latin America. They have a strong sense of ethnic pride and have won the respect of the Ecuadorian government.

One of the ways the Shuar have been able to achieve a high degree of cultural continuity has been through radio schools. These schools operate by the transmission of school lessons from Shuar headquarters to radios in settlements dispersed over a large region. Groups of students (sometimes no more than a few households) gather from 8 a.m. To 1 p.m. weekdays to listen to classes, which are broadcast in Shuar. A teacher's aide assists the students in interpreting the lessons and helps them with their studies.

Radio schools have eliminated the need for Churchrun boarding schools where Shuar children who received educations were sent prior to 1982. The mission schools removed children from their communities for long periods, depriving them of a uniquely Shuar education and their parents of their children's assistance.

The students' academic performance, well above the national average, demonstrates the success of an educational system which provides Shuar children with a high quality education in their own language while allowing them to maintain close ties with their communities.

MEXICO

Chiapas Culture Center

The art of weaving in Chiapas, Mexico dates back more than 2,000 years. Traditional patterns and techniques used by Maya women in their weaving, brocading and embroidery have been revived and elaborated on during this century. Over the past 10 years, Maya Indians, with the help of the Mexican government, have formed weaving societies and cooperatives. The largest and most successful of these is Sna Jolobil, founded in 1978, with 650 members from various communities. Sna Jolobil was created to help the weavers to market their work and to obtain a fair price. It encourages production of high quality weavings, based on the study of old huipils (tunics) from a collection of textiles assembled by Francesco Pellizzi. As a result, Sna Jolobil can market the weavings as art, in contrast to other forms of mass produced textiles where artisans realize a minimum of profit for their work. In addition, the cooperative established a natural dye workshop. It now produces all the natural dyed wool used in Chiapas.

In spring 1984 Cultural Survival's Board of Directors voted to support a special project: a Maya Culture Center formed by Walter Morris and others to house and coordinate the work of this cooperative. The Culture Center will be located in the ex-convent of Santo Domingo in San Cristobal de las Casas in Chiapas. Sna Jolobil will have space for work and study, for a gallery to exhibit work, and for a store. The Maya Culture Center will house the Pellizzi textile collection and, perhaps, the Chiapas Writers Cooperative, another project supported by Cultural Survival.

Chiapas Maya Writers Cooperative - Sna Jtz'Ibajom

The "Cultura de los Indios Maya" project, a Cultural Survival special project since November 1982, seeks to maintain and revitalize Maya Indian culture in the Mexican state of Chiapas. It supports an independent Maya Indian writers' cooperative, Sna Jtz'Ibajom. Six Tzotzil and Tzeltal Indians work at the cooperative to revive their oral tradition and preserve it in literary form. In the booklets and magazines they have published and plan to write they have included themes of Maya history, folk tales, native medicine, humorous sayings and other themes chosen by the cooperative. These publications are disseminated among the Maya inhabitants of Chiapas to inform them and to stimulate similar efforts.

The Mexican government and local officials have supported the cooperative. The Ministry of Education for Chiapas has agreed to publish three volumes annually. In 1983, The Ancient History of Zinacantan, The First Soldier Arrived, and Words of the Elders were published. The first two were in Tzotil and Spanish, the last in Tzeltal and Spanish.

Two more books, The Old Zinacantecan Traders and Ancient Traditional Maya Tales (Sipakna) have been printed in 1984. The writers currently are working on two more texts, concerning the traditional festivals of San Sebastian in Zinacantan and Carnaval in Tenejapa.

The writers are working on Tzotzil and Tzeltal grammar books for both bilingual schools and the adult Maya population. The writers plan to widen their scope of activities to include such things as a Maya puppet theater, the taping of the stories of the elders for radio, cultural exchanges with various Indian groups in the region and investigations into ceramic traditions. Additional writers from the same or other language groups may be added as the project expands.

The National Indian Institute (INI) has provided the writers with office space and facilities, though the cooperative may transfer some of their operations to the Maya Culture Center when it opens in the ex-convent of Santo Domingo.

To aid and improve the distribution of publications, the writers' cooperative, with Cultural Survival support, will elaborate a puppet theater and present shows in which the puppets will act out scenes from the events described in their books. Each writer will be trained in making puppets and in presenting puppet shows.

Project Tuapuri with the Huichol

In October 1982, Cultural Survival provided funds for a carpentry workshop/school, "Project Tuapuri," with the Huichol of Mexico's Sierra Madre Occidental. This project resulted from the Indians' growing awareness of the need to guarantee and maintain their land base while creating new sources of livelihood on their land.

A forestry professor from the University of Guadalajara supervised and taught a dozen apprentice Huichol in the community of Santa Catarina-Tuapuri to select trees suitable for cutting as well as how to fell trees and saw and dry the boards. The program helps the Huichol utilize their forest resources selectively, demonstrates the community's rational use of their natural resources, and reinforces their territorial claims.

Instruction at the workshop is geared to the production of high-quality goods. In 1983, Huichol carpenters produced 55 chairs on commission for ITESO (Guadalajara's Institute Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Occidente). The Tuapuri workshop received 1,850 pesos per chair. One pine log yields enough lumber for 50 chairs, which gross approximately 62,500 pesos. This represents a 30,000% increase in profit over the 200 pesos paid for a pine log. Income generated from the sale of finished products is distributed first to the carpenters. Ten percent of all profits is contributed to the communal treasury. For Huichol, the workshop is a profitable community-run industry which offers a viable alternative to migratory, wage-labor, and avoids disruption of the community's traditionally egalitarian economy.

An Austrian obtained funds for an experimental solar-powered kiln to dry the Huichol's lumber. It was used successfully in 1983, and carpenters were instructed in its operation.

The profits from finished wood products and Cultural Survival's support have enabled carpenters to remain at the workshop and continue their training. The sale of chairs and other wood products will enable the workshop to become self-sufficient. Having funded the first three phases of the project. Cultural Survival's Board of Directors has approved funds for its fourth and final phase. Presently, carpenters can manufacture high quality products under supervision. In this last stage they will acquire the skills needed to design and construct articles independently and allow them to act as instructors for similar workshops in other Huichol communities. In this final phase of the project, an expert Tarahumara Indian woodcarver will instruct the Huichol in woodcarving techniques.

NAMIBIA

!Kung San Development Foundation

Over the past century, the !Kung San (Bushmen) of Namibia have been reduced from a self-sufficient existence maintained through hunting and gathering in the Nyae Nyae region of the Kalahari Desert, to a life dependent on welfare. Since 1978, many young !Kung San men, attracted by the high wages, have joined the South African army to fight against SWAPO. In the past 20 years the already reduced lands of the !Kung San in Namibia have been reduced by an additional 60%. As this has happened, most have moved onto white or black-owned farms to work as wage laborers. Those that remained were moved to Tsumkwe, the government post, where they live in demoralizing poverty. Now, they suffer from malnutrition and alcoholism, high infant mortality, much unemployment and considerable internal violence, conditions unknown to them in their previous way of life.

The only land remaining to them, 6,000 sq. km. in eastern Bushmanland, is inhabited by some 2,000 Ju/Wasi !Kung San. Some of these Ju/Wasi live by a mixed economy of cattle husbandry and subsistence agriculture, supplemented by hunting and gathering. !Kung San lack the land and few have the skills to live exclusively by hunting and gathering. Use of the remaining land is now threatened by a government plan to convert it to a game reserve where San would have only limited access for hunting and would not be allowed to run their cattle.

The !Kung San Foundation was established in Namibia in 1978. Cultural Survival coordinates U.S. efforts to aid the organization, which also receives African and European assistance. The Foundation raises funds to assist Ju/Wasi !Kung San self-development and those who are trying to help them. It provides basic training in agricultural and herding techniques and direct material assistance (livestock, tools and equipment, hand and wind pumps and medicine) to Ju/Wasi !Kung San who are trying to resettle near traditional waterholes and recently drilled shallow boreholes. As of 1984, three Ju/Wasi groups had resettled successfully, through their own efforts, improving their economic condition, increasing their independence, and continuing many aspects of their traditional social and cultural life. Other groups would like to follow their example.

The Ju/Wasi vehemently oppose the government's plans to establish a game reserve. If the reserve becomes a reality, all traditional waterholes will be expropriated, and all but a handful of Ju/Wasi will be evicted with their livestock and forced to move back to the government post or relocated far to the west to expensive boreholes the Ju/Wasi cannot afford to maintain, committing them to dependence on government handouts. Subsistence farming would be prohibited in the reserve, and the role envisioned for the few Ju/Wasi allowed to remain would be as hunter-gatherer curiosities for tourists visiting the park. If the Ju/Wasi are not allowed to continue their efforts to support themselves at traditional waterholes, their population will decline.

NEPAL

Tengboche Culture Center

Since Nepal opened its borders to foreign visitors in 1951, mountain trekking and tourism have become major industries. The Khumbu region in northeastern Nepal is the most popular trekking area. There, on the route to Mt. Everest, is the Tengboche Monastery. This Buddhist monastery, which has long been a focal point for Sherpa religious, cultural and educational life, now receives around 5,000 visitors each year.

While increasing numbers of foreign visitors have given Sherpa greater employment opportunities as well as exposure to people and ideas from outside, the presence of tourists has threatened the survival of many Sherpa cultural institutions and traditions and placed increased pressure on forest resources and the region's fragile ecology. If not brought under control, the current level of exploitation of natural resources will have grave consequences for the region and for future generations of Sherpa. The Tengboche Culture Center was planned to help counterbalance those threats.

For several years, the head lama of Tengboche has, with other community leaders, developed a plan to help maintain the roots of Sherpa culture by creating a culture center for use and benefit of the Sherpa and promoted the education of young Sherpa monks in the Buddhist tradition. The monk's residence was completed in late 1981 and houses 24 new monks. The library/museum was constructed adjacent to the Monastery in 1983. The six rooms in the building will house a Tibetan library, a Western language and Nepali language library; two small study rooms and two small exhibition rooms, one containing examples of Sherpa history, the other containing religious and ritual artifacts. A traditional Sherpa altar/Tibetan library niche has been constructed with funds from Cultural Survival. Installation of donated artifacts and Tibetan library materials which the Tengboche head lama has collected began in August 1984. The Culture Center also provides visitors with information about Sherpa culture.

In an effort to protect and manage the Khumbu region's forest resources, most of this region has been designated as a national park. Use of forest products is severely restricted. As an ecological/development component of the project, programs in waste control and reforestation now being planned will be implemented by young monks of the Tengboche monastery. The park warden reserved 7,000 seedlings that were planted in June 1984, and the two plantation areas were fenced.

PERU

AIDESEP

In January 1980, AIDESEP (Inter-Ethnic Development Association of the Peruvian Jungle) was formed as a non-profit Indian-run organization to unify the tropical forest-dwelling Indians of Peru. Membership includes 10 officially recognized Indian organizations and 13 small, as yet unrecognized, Indian groups. Each member group has three representatives who pass information between the communities and AIDESEP. The organization works on behalf of about 50% of Peru's approximately 220,000 forest-dwelling Indians.

AIDESEP publishes Voz Indígena, which documents current problems faced by jungle Indian communities in Peru. AIDESEP also publishes monographs and recently translated and published Cultural Survival's Occasional Paper #8, The Dialectics of Domination in Peru: Native Communities and the Myth of the Vast Amazonian Emptiness, by Richard C. Smith.

Cultural Survival is helping AIDESEP to expand its activities, maintain a visible presence in Lima and to visit constituent communities regularly. Thus far AIDESEP has worked out several formal agreements with government ministries for health and education programs for forest-dwelling Indians.

Funds are also used to publish materials (pamphlets, manuals and educational brochures on health, civil rights and similar subjects for which AIDESEP organizes seminars for its member groups) and to initiate contacts with groups and organizations as yet unaffiliated with AIDESEP. In order to wean AIDESEP from international funding, a plan has been initiated whereby the 23 member organizations will make progressively larger contributions.

In March 1984, AIDESEP organized a meeting in Lima, Peru, to inform and advise South American Indian delegates from countries with territory in the Amazon basin of the nature and purpose of the U.N. Working Group on Indigenous Populations. AIDESEP subsequently sent delegates to Geneva for the annual meeting of the U.N. Working Group on Indigenous Affairs in July and August 1984.

ANTISUYO

Peruvian handicrafts - particularly ceramics and textiles - are among the finest in the world. Much production, however, is marketed through middlemen who rarely encourage traditional quality or pay prices which stimulate such creativity.

ANTISUYO, a Peruvian organization, receives and markets goods from members who range from family producers to large cooperatives. It also provides technical assistance to members, mainly in administration and bookkeeping. Most of the 22 producer members live in Andean or jungle communities where the sale of crafts provides cash essential to supplement subsistence farming. Founded in December 1981, ANTISUYO serves as middleman, but does not charge fees exceeding costs required to maintain its Lima-based store and its three-person staff.

In April 1983, Cultural Survival approved support for ANTISUYO's expanded program for the production and marketing of high-quality handicrafts from groups living in Peru's Amazon jungle (handicrafts ranging from ceramics to hammocks, bags, baskets and hats). CS funds provide working capital with which ANTISUYO pays artisans upon receipt of goods, an important concern for producers who cannot afford to sell their products on concession. The income from the sale of crafts allows some groups to buy such basic goods as medicines, salt, tools, pots, kerosene, and blankets.

CS funds will also support ANTISUYO's efforts to encourage the production of high quality wares through seminars and workshops with local craftspeople. Through these efforts, ANTISUYO hopes to promote and maintain a sense of pride in Indian culture while improving the general economic condition of members. Last year. Cultural Survival's support enabled the organization to establish contacts with additional Amazon Indian communities. Ultimately ANTISUYO hopes to support and assist most native groups of the Peruvian jungle.

COPAL - Amazonía Indígena

COPAL, Solidarity with Native Communities, is an Indianist Peruvian organization formed in 1979. Most core members are anthropologists, and all have had extensive experience with Peru's Amazonian Indians.

In September, 1984, Cultural Survival's Board of Directors voted to provide funds for the continued printing of Amazonía Indígena, a COPAL publication which combines serious research and analysis of the current economic and cultural problems and life of Peruvian Amazonian Indians. Thus, it is neither a purely academic journal nor merely a news bulletin. Amazonia Indigena is published quarterly.

Manual for Agricultural Extension Agents Working Among Native Amazonians

The Ashaninca (Campa) live along the Ene River in the high forest region of the Peruvian Amazon. Due to the recent influx of colonists in the area, their traditional economic system of swidden agriculture is no longer feasible.

To aid the necessarily rapid transition to more intensive, sedentary farming, John Beauclerk, who has worked with the Ashaninca for several years on an Oxfam-supported marketing and community development program, will prepare a manual for Indian agricultural promoters. Beauclerk will shape the content and method of the teaching materials to fit local circumstances and traditional knowledge. The goal is to develop ecologically sound systems of agricultural production where non-traditional cash crops are incorporated to existing patterns of land use. The manual will cover cultivation of permanent, semipermanent and annual crops. It also will address questions of nutrition and appropriate technology.

Beauclerk sees the inadequacies and failures of previous efforts by teachers and Ministry of Agriculture agents as attributable, in large part, to the relatively low level of participation of community members in their efforts. In addition, there is a woeful shortage of qualified technical assistance materials about agriculture available to native groups. The manual's full potential will be realized, he says, if tribal organizations plan their own extension programs around it. He expects tribal organizations to be involved in all aspects of research, design and production of the teaching materials so that they are directly engaged in seeking their own solutions to the problem of rational agricultural development. The manual will be designed after extensive interviews with community members.

Cultural Survival and Oxfam are helping to support Beauclerk's efforts during 1985 when he will research, write and translate the manual into Indian languages. The manual will be available in 1986.

Article copyright Cultural Survival, Inc.

CSQ Issue:

Country
Issues