Skip to main content

We Are the Stewards of the Earth

Dear Cultural Survival Community,

As we close out 2023, I want to thank you for your ongoing partnership and support of Cultural Survival. Our team and community partners led a year filled with global impact and collaboration that wouldn’t be possible without you. This issue of the Cultural Survival Quarterly is dedicated to uplifting a few of the many stories of Indigenous-led stewardship and care of the Earth. As Indigenous people, we continue to battle fortress conservation efforts that displace us from our lands and territories and restrict access to our environments in the name of conservation. The 30x30 initiative, a world-wide initiative for governments to designate 30 percent of Earth's land and ocean area as protected areas by 2030, is one of the greatest threats to Indigenous Peoples unless our Indigenous leadership, participation, and knowledge is prioritized in the management of natural resources and environments. Indigenous communities are the guardians and keepers of the Earth.

We make up just over 6 percent of the world’s population, but we steward 25 percent of the Earth’s surface and 40 percent of intact ecosystems, and we protect 80 percent of the planet’s remaining biodiversity. This is no coincidence; we have millennia-old knowledge, traditions, lifeways, and relationships with our lands and territories. Our Indigenous-led solutions hold the answers to many of today’s pressing problems, including climate change, biodiversity loss, pollution from fossil fuel extraction, economic destruction, food insecurity, and language loss.

As an Indigenous woman, and for my people, ceremony is the ultimate conservation. On my ancestral land in Siberia on the shores of Lake Baikal, we hold ceremony in a pine grove. Every year we check the condition of the pines, because in our belief system, every tree represents a lineage in our clan. If we see that a tree is dying, we know that one of the families is not going to have continuation in their lineage. In recent years we have seen many trees dying, and asked our youth to plant seedlings. This is our form of conservation. Indigenous-led conservation is rooted in our relationships with our environments and our ancestral teachings. There is no single solution for protecting the planet and biodiversity, as solutions are all place-based. There are many different ways Indigenous  Peoples globally manage their lands and waters. However, we need access to, and control over, our lands.

Support Indigenous people in continuing to care for and protect our lands, ensure that we are engaged in decision-making, and act in solidarity with us as we secure title to, reclaim, and reoccupy our traditional homelands. Contribute to securing a future guided by the wisdom and leadership of Indigenous Peoples by donating to our end of the year campaign to help us reach our ambitious $250,000 end-of-year goal. We can’t continue our work without you. Please give generously at

As we walk into the new year filled with gratitude and compassion, we wish you a healthy, prosperous, just, and peaceful holiday season and New Year.

In gratitude,

Galina Angarova (Buryat)
Executive Director

Our website houses close to five decades of content and publishing. Any content older than 10 years is archival and Cultural Survival does not necessarily agree with the content and word choice today.