Cultural Survival Q
From the Heart of the Earth Protecting Sacred Lands, Protecting Our Future
Vol. 38, Issue 1 â€˘ march 2014 US $4.99/CAN $6.99
M ar c h 201 4 V olum e 38 , Issue 1 Board of Directors President & board Chair
Duane Champagne (Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa)
Nicole Friederichs Voyaging around the world in a canoe. Passing the entrance of lava from Kı-lauea Volcano into the Pacific Ocean (see page 20).
Lesley Kabotie (Crow) Evelyn Arce (Chibcha) Laura Graham Steve Heim Edward John (Tl’azt’en) Pia Maybury-Lewis Stephen Marks P. Ranganath Nayak Stella Tamang (Tamang) Che Philip Wilson (Nga-ti Rangi) FOUNDERS David & Pia Maybury-Lewis
Photo by Kaimana Barcarse
F e at u r e s
12 An Urgent Call from the Guardians of the Heart of the World Atossa Soltani & Evelyn Arce The Kogi are concerned that people are plundering and dismembering the Earth.
Cultural Survival PO Box 381569 Cambridge, MA 02238 t 617.441.5400 f 617.441.5417 www.cs.org
14 Honoring the Black Hills
5ª calle 14-35, Zona 3 Apartamento 202 Edificio Las Tapias Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, 09001
16 UNESCO: Honoring Indigenous Rights? Mililani Trask
Leonard Little Finger For centuries, the people of the Seven Council Fires have traveled into the Black Hills for prayer.
Cultural Survival Quarterly
Copy Editor: Jenn Goodman Designer: NonprofitDesign.com Contributing Arts Editor: Phoebe Farris Managing Editor: Agnes Portalewska Copyright 2014 by Cultural Survival, Inc. Cultural Survival Quarterly (ISSN 0740-3291) is published quarterly by Cultural Survival, Inc. at PO Box 381569, Cambridge, MA 02238. Periodical postage paid at Boston, MA 02205 and additional mailing offices. Postmaster: Send address changes to Cultural Survival, PO Box 381569, Cambridge, MA 02238. Printed on recycled paper in the U.S.A. Please note that the views in this magazine are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of Cultural Survival.
View writers’ guidelines at our website (www.cs.org) or send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to: Cultural Survival, Writer’s Guidelines, PO Box 381569, Cambridge, MA 02238. Cultural Survival recognizes that Indigenous Peoples have long been exploited by photographers and publications. This publication does not pay photographers for images and makes no money from publishing them. We also make a tremendous effort to identify every Indigenous individual in the images that appear here. From time to time, however, such identification is not possible. We apologize to the subjects of those photos and to any reader offended by the omission.
On the cover The Kogi of Colombia consider themselves as the guardians of the heart of the world—the Sierra Nevada Mountains (see page 12). Photo courtesy of Eric Julien, Association Tchendukua ii • www. cs. orgIci et Ailleurs.
Increasingly, the World Heritage site program is ignoring the rights of local peoples in areas it was created to protect.
17 Understanding Culture and Language Ethnocide: A Native Perspective Neyooxet Greymorning The idea of language loss is foreign to most Americans; an Arapaho professor sets things straight.
18 Language Healers
Brian McDermott A film on Native language revitalization highlights the work of devoted language advocates.
20 A Voyage Around the World—in a Canoe Kaimana Barcarse 2013 marked the first leg of the four-year World Wide Voyage with a voyage around Hawai’i.
22 Shared Vision in Many Languages
Jessie Cherofsky Community radio unifies Indigenous Maya youth from Guatemala, Belize, and El Salvador.
24 Connecting over Land Exploitation at Quechua-Maya Intercambio
Jessie Cherofsky and Matilde Chocooj Coc Communities from Peru and Guatemala exchange experiences of resource exploitation without consent.
Departments 1 Executive Director’s Message 2 In the News 4 Indigenous Arts The Language of Art 6 Women the World Must Hear Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui 8 Rights in Action Standing Up for SelfDetermination in Autonomous Regions of China 10 Board Spotlight Steven Heim 26 Free, Prior and Informed Consent Kannadiga Radio Producers Make Indigenous Rights Issues Local 27 Bazaar Artists Redesigning Native Art: Leonard & Amalia Four Hawks 28 Our Supporters 29 Take Action Take action with the Maya peoples of Guatemala as they assert their right to freedom of speech and community radio in the wake of repressive telecommunication laws.
E xecut iv e Di rector’ S messa ge
From the Heart of the Earth
s Indigenous people, we recognize the spiritual significance of the Kogi people and their call to honor and protect Mother Earth through our own spiritual and cultural traditions. “From the heart of the earth” are powerful words imbued with deep spiritual understanding in the Kogi language and worldview. The power of these words encompasses all existence, all relations, and when spoken from the “guardians of the heart of the world” they remind us of who we are and our responsibilities as human beings in a deeply profound way. We are respectful and grateful for the Kogi Mamos who offer meditation, prayer, songs, and ritual offerings that protect and nurture all creation on our collective behalf. Several of the articles highlighted here reflect the importance of stories and acts of remembering our sacred connections and responsibilities. Atossa Soltani and Evelyn Arce reflect on their visit to the Kogi people; Leonard Little Finger tells about his ancestors’ sacred journeys to a site where “Mother Earth breathes” and the ritual ceremonial preparation needed; Kaimana Barcase tells of the voyaging journey of the Hawaiian Hokule’a’ as an understanding of the “direct connection as humans to the health of the land and the sea” and the ritual preparation needed. We are reminded that our traditional languages embody spiritual teachings and complex meanings evolving since time immemorial and bring to life the power of words. Yet, around the world we struggle to sustain our languages, our cultural traditions, and our sacred lands. Our “language healers” are working to revitalize and sustain traditional
Indigenous languages that are disappearing at an unprecedented rate. As Richard Grounds says, “Our heritage languages, our original languages are probably the most critical markers of the health of our communities in terms of our cultural wellbeing. And that relates to understanding who we are, that relates to understanding what our place is in the world…the fullness of that understanding comes with language.” Our struggles to protect sacred lands from development and resource extraction are immense, yet we are resilient and strong in the fight. In this issue of the CSQ alone we can see how the struggles for cultural survival and Indigenous rights span the globe from Tibet to East Turkestan to Colombia to the United States, Hawai’i, Guatemala, Peru, and many, many more places. Across the globe we see the next generations beginning to lead us forward, and we encourage and support them. As we connect our present to the future, it is our responsibility to assure our children have a world to inherit. So as we increasingly call attention to climate change, we must make the connections and heed what the Kogi and other spiritual leaders are telling us. It is not about science, it is not about economic development, it is not about declarations and policies; in the Indigenous world, at the heart, it is about what it means to be a human being connected and in the right relationship to all livings things animate and inanimate. In Solidarity,
Donors like you make our work around the world possible. Thanks so much for being part of Cultural Survival. Staff Suzanne Benally (Navajo and Santa Clara Tewa), Executive Director Mark Camp, Deputy Executive Director Kaimana Barcarse (Native Hawaiian), FPIC Radio Series Producer Jessie Cherofsky, Program Assistant, Free, Prior and Informed Consent Initiative Matilde Choocoj Coc (Q’eqchi), FPIC Radio Series Producer Danielle DeLuca, Program Manager, Global Response Program and Free, Prior and Informed Consent Initiative David Michael Favreau, Bazaar Program Manager Sofia Flynn, Accounting & Office Manager Maria del Rosario “Rosy” Sul González (Kachiquel), Free, Prior and Informed Consent Initiative Radio Producer Dana Lobell, Grants Coordinator Jamie Malcolm-Brown, Communications & Information Technology Manager Cesar Gomez Moscut (Pocomam), Content Production & Training Coordinator, Community Radio Program Marcelino Romeo Vasquéz López, Fundraising Coordinator for the Community Radio Project Agnes Portalewska, Communications Manager Angelica Rao, Program Associate, Community Radio Program Alberto “Tino” Recinos (Mam), Citizen Participation Coordinator, Community Radio Program Miranda Vitello, Development Associate Ancelmo Xunic (Kachikel), Community Radio Program Manager
INTERNS AND VOLUNTEERS Omar Alcover, Don Butler, Jordan Engel, Amadeus Kaebler, Elie Kommel, Alicja Kowalczyk, Emily Moline, Tracie Sullivan, Holly Swanson, Kristen Williams, Jenna Winton. Ava Berinstein, Linguistics Advisor
There are so many ways to Suzanne Benally, Executive Director (Navajo and Santa Clara Tewa)
W h at o u r s u p p o r t e r s a r e s ay i n g a b o u t u s :
“In the name of the Q’anjobal community and our organizations, leaders, and human rights defenders, we deeply appreciate Cultural Survival for their unconditional support and we laud their dedication to Indigenous Peoples in Guatemala towards a more democratic country.” — Alfredo Baltazar Pedro, representative of the Social Movement of Santa Eulalia and the Departmental Assembly of Huehuetenango
www.cs.org facebook.com/culturalsurvival twitter: @CSORG firstname.lastname@example.org
Cultural Survival Quarterly
March 2014 • 1
i n t he new s Australia’s Dja Dja Wurrung Celebrate Native Title Settlement
to the government under false pretenses. Villagers are seeking a moratorium on deforestation and a partnership with the Wilmar palm oil plantation now in existence on the land.
The Dja Dja Wurrung Nation won a landmark native title settlement from the Australian government. The settlement recognizes Indigenous ownership of 266,532 hectares of land, about three percent of all Crown land in the southeastern state of Victoria.
Canada’s Elsipogtog Call for Renewal of Tribal Police Force January 2014
Yakama Nation Partners in Record Land Conservation November 2013
After several years of negotiation, the largest land conservation deal in Washington state history has been finalized. State agencies and environmental groups united with the Yakama Nation to create Washington’s first “community forest,” which will help restore critical salmon habitat while allowing Native people to exercise their treaty rights.
Global Compact Launches Business Guide on Rights of Indigenous Peoples December 2013
On December 2, the UN Global Compact released “A Business Reference Guide to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples,” which aims to help businesses understand the rights of Indigenous Peoples and recommends practical actions to respect these rights.
Guatemala Court Guarantees Right to Consultation on Mining Projects December 2013
The Constitutional Court of Guatemala has ruled that community consultations against mining projects should be considered binding legal decisions. The decision came after proponents of mine construction attempted to dispute the results of a vote held in the eastern Guatemalan town of Mataquescuintla, where 96 percent of voters rejected a planned mining project.
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A view of the General Assembly Hall at the opening of the 12th session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. © 551238/UN Photo/Rick Bajornas
Aboriginal Fishing Rights Upheld November 2013
Following a four-year legal battle, the High Court of Australia has confirmed the right of Aboriginal peoples to keep any fish caught for traditional purposes. The ruling sets a precedent for Abori- ginal fishing rights, favoring Indigenous Peoples’ sovereignty.
Logging Plan Approved Despite First Nation Dissent December 2013
Canada’s provincial government of Ontario has approved a logging plan on the territory of the Asubpeeschoseewagong people, also known as the Grassy Narrows First Nation, despite opposition from tribal leadership and community members. Dozens of large clearcuts are planned over the next decade. Grassy Narrows is the site of Canada’s longest running Native logging blockade.
Exploited Nigerians Demand Compensation December 2013
Nigerians from the Ekong Anaku Village in southeastern Nigeria are demanding compensation for 100 square kilometers of traditional forest land that they ceded
Amid anti-fracking protests and ongoing tensions with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Elsipogtog First Nation of New Brunswick is calling for the renewal of the tribal police force. The prior agreement allowing First Nations people to police themselves has expired and is being renegotiated.
One-Quarter of Colombian Indigenous People Displaced January 2014
Recent reports confirm that over 28 percent of Colombia’s Native population has been displaced due to the violence that has gripped the country in the past decades.
Illegal Settlers to Be Evicted from Awá Land in Brazil January 2014
In a rare victory for one of Brazil’s most vulnerable Indigenous groups, non-Indigenous loggers, farmers, and ranchers who have settled illegally in Maranhão state will be evicted from Awá lands.
Alaska Considers Making Native Languages Official January 2014
Alaskan politicians have proposed adding 20 of the state’s Indigenous languages to its list of official languages. Currently, English is the state’s only official language.The move would be largely symbolic, not requiring public signs and documents to be printed in multiple languages.
Campaign Updates GUATEMALA: WE ARE ALL BARILLAS—STOP A DAM ON OUR SACRED RIVER! Representatives’ Dialogue with President Eight Indigenous communities in northern Huehuetenango have joined together to defend their traditional territories against transnational projects. The permanent assembly of Q’anjobal, Chuj, and Akateka peoples has sent representatives to a series of three meetings hosted by Guatemala President Otto Perez Molina. The meetings addressed issues arising from transnational mining, logging, and hydroelectric projects within Indigenous territory that have proceeded despite community opposition and without due consultation. Alfredo Baltazar Pedro, a Q’anjobal community leader and participant in the dialogues, sees progress: “We have achieved a verbal acknowledgement from the president that he will cancel all mining projects within our territories.” The collective bargaining power of the permanent assembly was demonstrated recently when three community leaders were released from custody after having been detained on charges by Spanish hydroelectric company Hidro Santa Cruz. Over a dozen Indigenous activists in northern Huehuetenango have been detained in the last two years.
CAMBODIA: HELP US SAVE PREY LANG (“OUR FOREST”) Images Reveal Dramatic Forest Devastation in 2013 The extent of the devastation of Cambodia’s forests was brought into sharp relief with a series of detailed maps and
Cultural Survival's Global Response program launches international advocacy campaigns with Indigenous communities whose right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent is being violated by agribusiness and extractive industries.
satellite data released by NGOs showing the drastic depletion of the country’s woodland ecosystems. Images released by Open Development Cambodia (ODC) reveal that only about 11 percent of total forest land remains today. Despite a moratorium on new economic land concessions that came on the heels of the murder of prominent forest activist Chut Wutty in 2012, logging in and around concessions and protected areas continued apace in 2013. The northeast was particularly hard hit with rights groups pinning the blame on tycoon Try Pheap, who has exclusive rights to collect and buy luxury timber from all governmentgranted concessions. Notably, illegal deforestation and the transport of logs spiked in the period following a recent election. CANADA: STOP THE PROPOSED NEW PROSPERITY MINE Urgent Action Needed to Stop New Prosperity Mine at Teztan Biny (Fish Lake) An outpouring of international pressure, combined with 63 days of damning testimony from youth and elders of the Tsilhqot’in Nation, government scientists, and environmen- tal experts, has led Canada’s Federal Review Panel to condemn the proposal for the New Prosperity Mine at Teztan Biny. This is the second time the Canadian government has considered a plan for a mine at Fish Lake. The first, in 2010, was rejected after the independent panel issued scathing findings about the impacts to Tsilhqot’in culture, Indigenous rights, and the environment. The final decision on the mine is expected in February 2014.
PERU: FORCE OIL COMPANIES TO CLEAN UP SPILLS Free, Prior and Informed Consent a Major Theme of UN Special Rapporteur’s Visit UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, James Anaya, dedicated his official visit to Peru last December to learning about the situation of the country’s Indigenous Peoples, especially with respect to the right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent regarding development projects and the effects of extractive industries on Indigenous Peoples in voluntary isolation and initial contact. Anaya met with government officials, Indigenous leaders, and corporate representatives in Lima, and visited towns and villages affected by resource extraction. He commended the development of Peru’s new Prior Consultation Law, one of the country’s few attempts to protect the right of Indigenous Peoples to consultation prior to exploitation of their lands and resources, but also noted that the law is hotly contested by many Indigenous groups, who believe it is inadequate. A Special Rapporteur’s official visit signifies a national government’s willingness to engage, as the rapporteur may only visit by government invitation. The visit gave Peru’s diverse Indigenous communities, many of whom are battling decades of resource extraction and the aftermath of environmental degradation, an opportunity to be heard at the international level.
Learn more and take action on Global Response campaigns at www.cs.org/ take-action. Sign up for our e-newsletter and read more news at www.cs.org/news. Cultural Survival QuarterlySeptember March 2013 2014 •• 3 3 Cultural Survival Quarterly
i ndi geno u s a r t s
The Language of Art
Deborah Spears Moorehead selling her artwork at Cultural Survival Bazaar.
business, the Painted Arrow Studio-Talking Water Productions, in Richmond, Rhode Island. Moorehead not only designs, produces, and sells her art, music, and jewelry; she also organizes and coordinates art shows and musical performances, and teaches private art lessons to children and adults alike. Moorehead’s own artwork focuses on the Eastern Woodland Native American community. She recalls being a young student in school, learning from curricula that taught her that Eastern Native Woodland peoples were extinct. “That made it really difficult for me to develop an identity, when all society was telling me that I didn’t exist,” she says. The experience recurred when Moorehead attended college in Massachusetts: “The professors were teaching the art of European people,” and “[I] constantly yearned for a Native American teacher who would teach the history of the Native Americans and their art.” These experiences led Moorehead to a decision that continues to shape her work. “When I was old enough to assert my own way of identity… I decided that as an artist, I’m going to paint my people and document that we’re here. And if we’re here now, we had to have been here in the past. If we’re here now, we have to be here in the future.” Her goal is to create pieces that collectively validate all forms of Eastern Woodland Native identity, past, present,and future. She documents through what she describes as “pinpointing the obscurity” of the people. “It’s saying, our history was obscured for certain reasons, but it can’t be obscured if I say and paint, ‘here we are, right now. We’re here and have always been here!’” In doing so, Moorehead’s work retells an accurate history, one that does not relegate Native people to the margins, but rather one that connects Native peoples within and between communities and across borders. Her pieces have been displayed in schools, universities, museums, libraries, and a variety of other public venues across the country, including the Mashantucket Pequot Museum, Brown University, Harvard University, The Museum of Fine Arts (Boston), The Rhode Island School of Design, and The Mohegan Tribal Nation. Her work has also been displayed internationally, for example, in the International Gallery of Bolivia.
eborah Spears Moorehead, an artist from the Seaconke, Pokanoket, Wampanoag, Narragansett, Pequot, Mohawk, and Nipmuc Tribal Nations in New England, has been drawing since she can remember. “The Creator chose me to have the talent to be an artist. I started drawing when I was old enough to pick up a pencil,” she says. There is artistic talent on both sides of her family, and Moorehead says her own pull towards artistic forms of expression follows a familial line. She recalls watching her mother create “beautiful renderings of people that she knew,” and drawing during family visits to her grandparents. “My grandmother would just give me a paper and pencil and tell me to draw anything that was in front of me.” During her middle school years, an experience at a lifelong friend’s house helped her discover her current medium: oil paint. “[My friend’s] mother gave us a canvas and paint, oil paint, and I painted a raccoon. I fell in love with oil paint from that day on,” she recalls. While oil paint continues to be her medium of choice, Moorehead explains that she usually begins with colored pencils. “I like to use colored pencils to do a study of what I’m going to paint so that I can work out any problems with color before I get into the oil painting.” After receiving her bachelor’s degree from the Swain School of Design, MooreTwohearted head earned a Master of Arts in Traditional wolf Cultural Sustainability. Today, she runs her
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Both domestically and internationally, Moorehead hopes that her work communicates to all Indigenous people “that we all have a lot of work to do.” Her intent, to link Indigenous Peoples together on a global level, centers on survival and cultural sustainability. “Our survival is very critical. We’re only one percent of the population, so it’s very critical that we protect the traditions, the culture, the people. A lot of Indigenous people are facing the same kind of issues that we’re facing,” she says. Moorehead’s deep-rooted beliefs about her art and teaching have led to a variety of fascinating and rewarding experiences. In 2006 she was awarded the Youth Mural Project Grant, through which she collaborated with the Tomaquag Indian Museum and students from the Nuweetooun School to create a mural entitled, “Nuneechun NuPeesh Kanashunun,” or “Our Children, Our Future.” The mural project emphasized the importance of being witnesses of colonization and pushing back against the effects of that colonization. Moorehead says that the best part of the experience was working with the children, continuing in the tradition of her ancestors. More recently, Moorehead furthered her community outreach by working as the curator of the first annual state Native American art exhibit at the Rhode Island State Council of the Arts. The exhibit highlighted the work of Eastern Woodland Native artists, who, she says, as underserved artists, are often “intimidated to be in venues that they’re not familiar with.” The mission of the exhibit was to work towards artistic cultural democracy, the idea “that all people—every culture, every nationality, every ethnicity, everyone—should be equally able to participate in the arts.” For Moorehead, this form of cultural democracy is connected not just to the arts, but to sovereignty and cultural
sustainability as a whole. “One of the most prominent issues for Native Americans today is our sovereignty,” she says. “We are sovereign nations; we need our land to be able to sustain our culture; we need the environment to be protected. There need to be more cultural policies that can assist Native people with being advocates for themselves. We need free, prior, and informed consent when decisions are being made that affect our environment; we need advocates that assist in all ways for readiness, as representatives of our nations.” As for her own role in this process, Moorehead says, “I see my work as a way of communicating an injustice to Indigenous people, and I find that my masters degree has given my paintings more to say. My daughter said at one point, ‘Mom, this degree has given your paintings a voice,’ and that voice is one that speaks out for social justice. I believe that art has its own language. And like they say, a picture speaks a thousand words.” Moorehead works not only to bring out that voice from within herself, but from others as well. “As a teacher I can assist anyone to express whatever they want to communicate. It’s hard to paint something that you’re not feeling, and it’s hard to not feel when you’re painting.” Advocacy for and by Native peoples, accurate and thoughtful documentation of Native life, and the creation of connections across Native boundaries and cultural lines: as Moorehead illustrates, the universality of art opens up an ideal space for taking these crucial steps toward cultural democracy. “It doesn’t matter what community you come from,” she says. “Art has its own language, and we all speak that same language.” —Hannah Ellman is a former Cultural Survival intern.
All images courtesy of Deborah Spears Moorehead.
Cultural Survival Quarterly
March 2014 • 5
women th e wo r ld m u st hear
Decolonizing the Person, the Image, Through the Lens of Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui
Mural at the Tambo Colectivo 2, a holistic center for research and production of alternative knowledge.
Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui
or many mestizo people of mixed Spanish and Indigenous blood from South America, identification with their native heritage has been difficult to imagine, let alone realize. Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui, a renowned sociologist from La Paz, Bolivia, has made this quest for identity her life’s work. For Cusicanqui, the “uneasiness” (her term) that inspired her to recover her Indigenous roots began with the decision to learn her mother’s language, Aymara; it had been her father’s native language, Quechua, that was spoken at home. According to those working to preserve endangered languages, language is a central feature of human identity. For many, not knowing a language is ostracizing because you can’t fully be yourself. When asked how she self-identifies now, Cusicanqui says she claims a few drops of Aymara blood as her own. Although she has degrees in sociology and a master’s in anthropology from Catholic University in Lima, she rejects the institutional and colonial legacy of her European heritage: “I self-identify as a mestiza Aymara woman who fervently vindicates her Indigenous Aymara side. This has inspired me to learn the language. It allows me to be more coherent and holistic regarding my Aymara background. I do not negate my mestiza existence, yet . . . I will not deny my Indigenous roots. We participate in rituals that recuperate our relationship with
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the land, learn our language, and dialogue with the Andean spiritual world. We thank the land. In this way we are less vulnerable to the alienation and loss of our identity.” Beyond the fundamental tenet of personal freedom as a right of all peoples, Cusicanqui has dedicated her life to investigating the relationships among gender, ethnicity, politics, economics, and the sociology of oppression and resistance in Bolivia. She is fascinated by the internalization of the colonization experience and how it drives the actions of its subjects. She contends that the mental conditioning that takes place as we interpret the visual images around us often unconsciously reinforces forms of discrimination and perpetuates the oppressive social order, prompting the need to disempower them. Cusicanqui’s research also explores the myriad aspects of colonization, what Indian scholar Ashish Nandy calls “the internal/intimate enemy.” Unlike many theorists in the field of colonial studies, she investigates not only the psychological colonization of the vanquished native peoples, but also the unwitting collusion between the oppressive structure and racist framework permeating the mestizo psyche. “The internal enemy—colonization—is within us all, from elites to the oppressed,” she says. Working to dismantle the internalization of imperialism, she is a pioneer among South American feminists working from the vantage point of the South and her ancestors’ native culture.
All photos courtesy of Isabel Dulfano
and the Collective Global Psyche Finding the Indian Within
In 1926 the Peruvian scholar Jose Mariategui published Seven Interpretive Essays on Peruvian Reality, considered by many to be the groundbreaking study of Latin American reality from a Marxist-Leninist perspective. In his work, Mariategui included a definitive chapter on the “Indian Problem,” which was informed by empirical and census data of the era. In a critical rebuttal, Cusicanqui points out the likelihood of data manipulation—distorting the numbers to create the effect of an ethnic group’s cultural genocide. Rather than attempt to reconcile an “Indian problem,” she calls on people to redefine the term. “I am not interested in discovering what it is to be Indian,” she says. “I already am, and have been for many years. Consequently for me, this nation [Bolivia] belongs to everyone, male and female, all people, but particularly for those who know how to appreciate this, rather than considering it as a problem solved by dispersing a few Indians here and there as token objects.” Further, she says, “Decolonization is for each mestizo to resolutely undertake. Everyone who has an Indian within should ultimately be the first one to decolonize. Focus on yourself, for that is interculturality.” Cusicanqui refuses to be pigeonholed; she shies away from labels other than “anarchist,” “sociologist,” “alternative knowledge producer,” and “social activist.” Talking about the challenges facing Indigenous Peoples, she says, “I do not propose
solutions; I perform diagnostics . . . to see how colonization is manifested and continues to perpetuate.” Among her scholarly work are books on Indigenous women’s exploitation in the labor market and by the banking sector through microloans; a collection of oral histories available online through Taller de Historia Oral Andina, a workshop on Andean Oral History; an examination of the epistemological violence unleashed against, and self-inflicted by, Indigenous people; a history of the longstanding Indigenous resistance movement in Bolivia; and her current work on the sociology of the image that takes her around the globe to lecture. At home in La Paz, she is involved in her latest project at Tambo Colectivo 2, a holistic center for research and production of alternative knowledge on the decolonization of the body, sociology of the image, and social activism. Having tired of working exclusively in the theoretical realm, Cusicanqui formed a social collective with 16 other social scientists in La Paz to live based on the principles of Indigenous cultures and alternative knowledge producers. The group implements urban agricultural production, champions Indigenous practices, traditions, and rituals, and is working to revitalize Bolivian Native people’s languages. The collective is additionally committed to raising consciousness about the harmful effects of the cosmetics industry, including the marketing of deodorant and other products that promote images of women as dirty, needing to beautify or cleanse themselves from their natural state of being. In the field of ecological activism, the group attends fairs in La Paz selling products that are eco-friendly and healthy. Fighting against environmental degradation, they began a campaign to eliminate the use of plastic bags in La Paz and have woven thousands of recycled bags into room dividers at their center. Cusicanqui sees capitalism and consumerism as the modern chains of oppression, and hopes to be a catalyst for decolonizing and liberating people from these systems’ domination. As such she recognizes the urgent need for Indigenous Peoples to recover their own form of thought—not one that has been distorted by Western imperialism and hegemony— and to activate that “cosmovision” and knowledge system in order to affect change. Ultimately, though, she knows that Indigenous Peoples must articulate this vision for themselves: from their own perspective, based on their own beliefs, and out of knowledge produced by their own hands and minds. —Isabel Dulfano is an associate professor of Spanish at the University of Utah. She is writing a book, I/We: Wo(man) of (An)Other Way, on Indigenous alternative knowledge producers and anti-globalization counter-hegemonic public intellectuals from Latin America.
Brick making: Building the foundation of Tambo Colectivo 2 center.
For more information on recent publications by members of Tambo Colectivo 2, see Elcolectivo2.blogspot.com.
Cultural Survival Quarterly
March 2014 • 7
r i ght s i n a ct io n
Standing Up for Self-Determination In Autonomous Regions of China:
Tibetans and Uyghurs Joshua Cooper
he creation of the Universal Periodic Review by the new UN Human Rights Council was an innovative approach to assessing the human rights record of each member state. Following the first review cycle, civilians—namely the core group of NGOs based in Geneva and grassroots human rights defenders—initiated advocacy campaigns to improve the review process for the people most
All photos courtesy of Joshua Cooper
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Tibetan student activists protest outside of the United Nations in Geneva during China’s Universal Periodic Review session.
impacted. Now, midway through the second review cycle, these modest procedural improvements are providing opportunities for Indigenous Peoples and other stakeholders to shape the review of states. One of the best examples of these changes on display is the case of China, specifically the ability of Indigenous Peoples and ethnic minorities there to mobilize for their fundamental freedoms in Geneva. The initial order of state review was selected randomly to ensure fairness, and the same order was maintained for the second cycle. The first cycle consisted of three, two-week sessions per year between 2008–2011. At each session, 16 countries were reviewed for 3 hours each, totaling 48 states per year. The second cycle is to consist of 14 sessions, to be held between 2012–2016 in the same format of three, twoweek sessions per year. China was first reviewed on February 9, 2009, and for the second time on October 22, 2013. In the first review, Indigenous Peoples and other stakeholders identified major human rights violations in communities inside China. However, a common practice for powerful states was to coordinate with allied member states to present on their behalf first, in order to generate a positive review with peer praise. In the first review of China, 60 delegations made statements of 2 minutes each, but 55 additional delegations were not able to take the floor. To prevent this from recurring, the second review was reformed so that all states desiring to speak could sign up the week before in the secretariat of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
For the second review, the first state to speak is chosen randomly so that colluding allies cannot dominate all of the speaking slots. Since more delegations desired to participate, an additional 30 minutes have been allotted to each review session to provide more opportunity for the states under review to share their developments. As a result of these reforms, the second review of China heard 137 delegations; twice as many states took the floor, but for only 51 seconds each so that every member state could participate. The advocacy campaigns serve as catalysts for the statements by states, while NGOs provide five-page reports along with summaries closer to the time of the actual review with specific questions and recommendations for generating genuine change on the ground for Indigenous Peoples. In the first cycle, China received nearly 138 recommendations; in the second cycle, 270. The advocacy by Tibetans and Uyghurs in the second review deserves special attention, particularly since it is impossible to coordinate inside China. At the 24th session of the UN Human Rights Council the month prior, the youth of Tibet in Europe formed a coalition to meet with delegates in the Serpentine Lounge throughout the session to discuss the current situation. The Uyghurs also organized informally, and presented at a side event as well. Rebiya Kadeer, a prominent Uyghur businesswoman and political activist from the northwest region of Xinjiang, an autonomous region of China, spoke on an education panel outlining how implementation of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training could enhance the Uyghurs’ quest for equality in East Turkestan. Because China was reviewed on the Tuesday of the first week of the session, only a single day of side events was possible. One such event focused on human rights defenders in China; another featured government-organized NGOs and focused mainly on development partnerships. The Tibetan and Uyghur causes balanced diplomacy with direct action to alert the world to the human rights situations in their respective homelands. Prior to the opening of China’s review, Tibet brought China into the world court of public opinion with a peaceful protest. On a foggy morning before dawn, protesters unfurled a banner from the roof of the UN Palace of Nations, waving it high above the flag poles of the member states. The banner read, “China Fails Human Rights, UN: Stand Up for Tibet.” The youth organized to begin speaking to world media as monks and members of parliament shared the truth about Tibet with the banner in the background. Then, street theatre: a giant papier mâché head of China President Xi Jinping was pointed at by UN member states, as China’s human rights record continued to hold the attention of the media. In the first review cycle, recommendations in support of China’s policies were made by Russian delegates, who called for economic and social development in the Tibet Autonomous Region, and by Sri Lankan delegates, who recommended that China make its experience as a strong state with ethnic regional autonomy more widely available to the world. At the time, only four states challenged China’s policies regarding Indigenous Peoples: New Zealand called for re- suming the dialogue on Tibet; the United Kingdom asked for greater access to Tibet for human rights and UN bodies as well as diplomats and media; and Switzerland and the Czech Republic requested respect for fundamental rights, especially
freedom of religion and movement, as well as protection of culture and language for Tibetans and Uyghurs. In the second review, there were 14 mentions of Tibetans and Uyghurs. While Pakistan and Saudi Arabia followed Russia and Sri Lanka’s practice from the first round of supporting China’s current policies, a dozen additional delegates cited concerns of human rights violations of Tibetans and Uyghurs. Four states (Germany, Iceland, New Zealand, and Poland) raised concern singly for Tibet, while just one (Tajikistan) mentioned singly the Uyghurs. Seven states raised the issue of human rights for Tibetans and Uyghurs: Canada, the Czech
Republic, France, Japan, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States all posed questions and provided recommendations regarding the human rights of both peoples. Others, such as Austria, reiterated the right to preserve cultural identity and freedom of religion without specifically mentioning the Tibet and Uyghur causes. Through this process, it was also recommended that Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, visit the autonomous regions in China to witness firsthand the claims of the human rights campaigners. Meanwhile, the Tibetan and Uyghur campaigns held a rally at the Place des Nations, marching to the Palais Wilson of the Office of the High Commissioner, and a representative delegation of the coalition of Indigenous Peoples hosted a global press conference online. Iona Liddle of the Tibet Justice Center explained the primary purpose of the Universal Periodic Review: “Peoples whose rights are being systematically violated must be at the core of the [review],” she said. Julie de Rivero of Human Rights Watch noted of the second review, “There [were] a broader number of states really raising key human rights concerns in China—especially freedom of expression, especially regarding human rights defenders. It was impressive how many states raised concerns and questions. However hard China tries to cover up, it is impossible in our interdependent world.” —Joshua Cooper is a professor at University of Hawai’i, West Oahu Kapolei, HI and director of the Hawai’i Institute for Human Rights. Cultural Survival Quarterly
March 2014 • 9
boar d s p o t lig h t
Sustainable and Responsible Investing: A Path to Fulfilling Indigenous Rights
Agnes Portalewska (CS Staff) Our series spotlighting the work of our Board members continues with Steven Heim, managing director and director of Environmental, Social, and Governance Research and Shareholder Engagement at Boston Common Asset Management, a Boston-based investment firm that manages approximately $2 billion in assets and is a leader in global sustainability initiatives.
any may still remember the racist wooden Indian statue décor of the Applebee’s restaurant chain in the 1990s. One of Steven Heim’s first collaborations with Indigenous Peoples and his earliest impacts in socially responsible investing was helping to successfully pressure the restaurant chain to change its décor package. As he recalls, “There was a big controversy led by members of the American Indian Movement regarding the use of ‘cigar store Indians,’ or wooden Indians, as part of the décor of the Applebee’s restaurants. We wrote to Applebee’s and talked to them.” With two degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Heim has more than 20 years of socially responsible investing and advocacy experience, engaging over a dozen companies on issues related to Indigenous Peoples. Since the late 1990s, Heim has witnessed major shifts in how business is conducted; he believes that companies are looking into how they may be harming human rights, thanks to the adoption of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the UN Global Compact, and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.
“Self-determination and sovereignty are the cornerstones on which companies should base their relations with Indigenous Peoples.”
L–R: Jose Gualinga (Kichwa, Ecuador), Andres Sandi (Achuar, Peru), and Domingo Ankuash (Shuar, Ecuador) at the annual ConocoPhillips Corp. Stockholders' Meeting in Houston, May 2006.
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Face to Face Engagement
Heim has spearheaded Boston Common Asset Management’s engagement efforts with ConocoPhillips, the world’s largest independent oil and gas exploration and production company. In 2006, ConocoPhillips purchased Burlington Resources, another US-based oil and gas company, whose primary operations were in the US and Canada but extended into Ecuador and Peru as well. Boston Common and the Church of the Brethren Benefit Trust, together with other investors and Amazon Watch, had been pushing Burlington Resources to respect the wishes of the Indigenous people there—who in Ecuador were opposed to oil development—and to adopt an Indigenous Peoples’ rights policy. “With Amazon Watch, we helped arrange for Indigenous leaders to attend ConocoPhillips’ annual meeting in Houston in 2006, where one of the leaders was able to speak. The following year, a ConocoPhillips board member told me that the Indigenous leaders’ presentations had prompted the board to specifically ask management about ConocoPhillips’s operations in Ecuador. The company said that they did not have any more plans for Ecuador. They did, however, later say they had plans for Peru, so we continued to write to the company and organized a series of meetings with the company in Houston and New York. It took a long time, but in 2011 they adopted a global Indigenous Peoples rights policy recognizing the Declaration and ILO 169 and incorporated it into the company’s human rights policy. This built on their earlier public pledge for Peru, which was ‘to obtain complete understanding of and agreement with our activities from all communities in our areas of operations prior to conducting exploration and production work.’” ConocoPhillips is just one of Heim’s many success stories, and his achievements are not limited to engagements with US companies. In 1999, Repsol, a Spanish oil company, merged with what some called one of the worst violators of Indigenous Peoples’ rights, YPF. “I initially helped write to Repsol in the early 2000s about Colombia and Ecuador and I met with the company in All photos courtesy of steven heim
Quito in 2005,” Heim says. “Following that, we wrote to the company with assistance from Amazon Watch and Intermón Oxfam (Oxfam of Spain). We were able to get Intermón Oxfam representatives into Repsol’s 2008 annual meeting in Madrid. Repsol told me two years later that our intervention encouraged the company to engage with Oxfam and other organizations that work with Indigenous Peoples rights.” Not only that, but Repsol eventually adopted an Indigenous Communities policy and became the first oil company operating in Latin America to have an Indigenous Peoples policy. Shareholder Activism
The recent Indigenous Rights Risk Report by First Peoples Worldwide revealed that only one out of the fifty-two US mining and oil and gas companies analyzed had an explicit policy of abiding by Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) as mandated by the Declaration. Only four others had company-wide Indigenous Peoples policies, leaving the remaining forty-seven companies with no clear policy for productively engaging and working with Indigenous Peoples. Heim stresses that such policies must be implemented, and that shareholders and the public can help keep companies accountable through letter writing, research, and public policy lobbying. He notes that the first step is contacting the management and asking them to adopt Indigenous Peoples’ policies. Investors can also file shareholder proposals to have a vote. Another way of being effective is to ask for a place at the table for Indigenous Peoples or communities in meetings with top management and to raise the issues with the companies. Additionally, shareholders can say that they will not invest in companies that have bad policies or bad records. However, Heim points out, “if a company is not publicly owned, it is hard for us to influence them.” In that case, the leverage is through the lenders. Since 2007, Heim has served as chair of the advocacy subcommittee for the US SIF Foundation’s Indigenous Peoples Working Group where he helps move the group’s corporate advocacy agenda, along with investor advocacy initiatives, such as challenging the racist and offensive team name of the NFL’s Washington R-dsk-ns. In addition to pushing companies to adopt environmental, social, and governance policies, Heim has talked with tribal government leaders about their advocacy and investment strategies; currently the Working Group is working with the National Congress of American Indians on implementing its resolution calling for socially responsible investing as its standard practice. Respecting Indigenous Self-determination
Heim believes that the playing field for corporations is changing, thanks to awareness of Indigenous Peoples’ rights and universally agreed upon international standards like the Declaration. “Companies are realizing that they need community consent. The smarter companies are creating more partnerships rather than taking a transactional approach of simply receiving approval and moving on,” he says. However, some companies merely pay lip service to the notion of consulting Indigenous People when the actual process looks like a community relations presentation, as in, “this is what we are going to do, and now you have been consulted.” Heim recalls, “one Indigenous leader told me that some of the companies that
Steven Heim with Achuar elder at the village landing strip in Pumpuentsa, Ecuador
his people have had to deal with have used FPIC in a very cynical fashion. He basically said, ‘If you talk you lose.’ That was actually my experience in Ecuador—Indigenous federations said ‘No, we are not going to talk to you, Burlington Resources. No means no.’ “But, the company kept pushing and kept trying to meet with individual communities in their territories to get letters signed by them. Companies in the past tended to say, ‘we’ll deal with the president,’ and what happens sometimes is basically bribery and corruption. It is critical for the whole community, the whole leadership to support a move or an action of what their future is going to be. Unfortunately there are still companies that try divide-and-conquer tactics with individual Indigenous communities or communities within regions where some will benefit and some won’t. I think the key thing is whether they accept the right of self-determination of Indigenous Peoples versus the transaction mentality that yes, they did do dialogue, and yes, they did have approval. Also, Indigenous Peoples or communities need to be able to say no and not have the company continue to pressure them every few months to try to change their decisions.” Last year, Heim served as a member of the multi-stakeholder Expert Group for the UN Global Compact’s new business reference guide on the Declaration. He says that the guide will help companies to adopt good policies and practices and in so build positive, long-term relations with Indigenous Peoples: “The will of Indigenous Peoples is what should be abided by. Indigenous Peoples have the inherent right to decide what they want for their future: the Achuar in Ecuador said that they didn’t want oil development and instead wanted to develop their natural resources and utilize their forest for food, medicinal plants, or for tourism. The Saami of northern Scandinavia and Russia want to be able to continue with their traditional way of life, which is based on herding reindeer, even if they are using snowmobiles and GPS tracking. That is very modern, but at the same time it is protecting their traditional way of life.” D isclaimer : The information in this article should not be considered a recommendation to buy or sell any security. All investments involve risk, including the risk of losing principal.
Cultural Survival Quarterly
March 2014 • 11
Kogi Village of Dumingueka, Santa Clara River Valley, Colombia.
Mariano Moscote (left), Kogi traditional education coordinator
The Kogi of Colombia
An Urgent Call from Guardians of the Heart of the World Atossa Soltani & Evelyn Arce
he breathtaking mountains of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta on the Caribbean coast of Colombia are the sacred ancestral lands of four Indigenous Peoples: the Kogi, Arhuaco, Wiwa, and Kankuamo. It is the world’s tallest coastal mountain range, containing nearly every ecosystem on the planet: glaciers, tundra, alpine lakes, deserts, rainforests, wetlands, and coral reefs. The inhabitants, direct descendants of an ancient civilization known as the Tayrona, speak distinct languages but share the belief that they are the guardians of the heart of the world. At the core of their spirituality and cosmology is the belief that the mountain range is a living entity, whom, before being created by the great creator Sezhankwa, existed in the spiritual universe. The great creator then birthed the people of the Sierra Nevada and gave the mandate to uphold her Original Law: that all creation must be protected and nurtured. Through deep meditation, ritual offerings, songs, and prayers carried out along a network of interconnected sacred sites, the Mamos (Kogi priests) follow the law of caring for the Sierra Nevada—thus maintaining the equilibrium of life for their sacred mountains, and the entire world. The Kogi are concerned that non-Indigenous people, the “younger brothers,” are plundering and dismembering the Earth. They see this evidenced in the prolonged droughts and disappearing glaciers in their own mountains. Jose de Los Santos Sauna, Kogi Cabildo governor, cautions, “If the sacred sites in the heart of the world are not protected...calamity will befall the entire world. The younger brother is not heeding our warnings.” The Kogi were one of only a handful of tribes in Colombia that defied the Spanish conquistadores by moving high up into
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the mountains to their traditional spiritual centers, where they continued to live for centuries in relative isolation. Over the 500 years since colonization, however, the Kogi and other peoples of Sierra Nevada have lost most of the mid-to-lower elevation reaches of their ancestral lands. Recuperating Ancestral Territory
The village of Dumingueka is located in the lower foothills of the Sierra Nevada in the Santa Clara River Basin. Five years ago the Kogi reoccupied this valley, establishing a new community and building their first intercultural school for Kogi youth. Since the 1970s, the Kogi, Arhuaco, Wiwa, and Kankuamo have struggled to secure legal recognition to some 6,500 square kilometers of their ancestral territories in three resguardos (Indigenous reserves), collectively inhabited by about 90,000 people. Named after the tallest and most sacred peak of the range, the Gonawindua Tayrona Organization (OGT) was established in 1987 to defend the traditions and cultures of the peoples of the Sierra Nevada. Today the OGT is mostly focused on the direction, organization, administration, and management of the Kogi reserve, while the other three tribes have established similar organizations. In 1999, the four tribes formed the Territorial Council of Cabildos (CTC) to speak in one voice to better govern their ancestral territory and maintain autonomy. The CTC addresses the protection of sacred sites, the unification of their ancestral territories, and threats from mining, dams, and other mega projects. According to Santos, the top priority is the recuperation of an additional 3,500 square kilometers of ancestral territories, including areas that are legally Indigenous lands but still owned and occupied by farmers, ranchers, and developers.
All photos courtesy of Atossa Soltani, Amazon Watch
Bernardo Moscote, Mamo of the Ezuama of Guamaca
Another concern is the defense and recuperation of their sacred sites; in particular 54 important sites that form an invisible “black line” encircling the base of the mountain massif. “Our sacred sites along the black line refer to the invisible line separating the land and the sea,” Santos says. “We are eager to protect our sacred sites because [they] are like the eyes, ears, lungs, arms of nature. Each site is a Being, a mother or father spirit who is alive and has a spirit. If these things are destroyed, it will bring an end to our Indigenous culture; it will destroy us as a people.” The Desecration of Jukulwa
One of the most important sacred sites on the black line is Jukulwa. Located on the Caribbean coast, it is a place of significance for holding ceremonies to defend against the spread of diseases among humans and animals. A consortium of Colombian and Brazilian businessmen and politicians are currently building a multipurpose seaport there called Puerto Brisa, which includes roads and a railroad to connect with the proposed San Juan del Cesar coal mine. In 2007, the tribes filed an injunction in Constitutional Court; in 2008, the consortium began dynamiting the site illegally. The Court ruled in 2010 that the port was illegal and construction had to stop pending prior informed consultation and agreement with the affected Indigenous people. In 2011, the Kogi participated in another consultation process and voiced their opposition, demanding that the site be protected. However, the consultation process failed to produce a resolution, and the case was left to the Court. In the meantime, the Colombian Ministry of Environment issued an environmental license for the port, allowing the construction—and devastation—to continue. The consultation initially held in 2007 did not meet the necessary requirements; there was no preparation of an associated environmental impact study in which the Mamos could participate. During the consultation, the Mamos of all four tribes visited more than 20 sacred sites within the boundaries of the Puerto Brisa project, explaining the function and purpose of each site. The tribes’ representatives and allied
Bridge over the Santa Clara River near Dumingueka village
organizations submitted this information in volumes of writings, graphics, and tables. However, the information was not widely disseminated in the media, nor was it included in the Court’s official records. The Kogi refused to settle for compensation, which would compromise their Indigenous law of origin. The Court still has not issued its final verdict on the injunction and the Puerto Brisa continues, and each day the Mamos watch in horror as their spiritual mothers and fathers are destroyed. Sovereignty and Economic Empowerment
While the fate of Jukulwa hangs in limbo, the Kogi are working toward autonomous economic empowerment by developing a small-scale, spiritually cultivated coffee enterprise. Coffee is an important source of income for food and clothing, and it has been grown and traded by Kogi for decades. Without a community cooperative or association, though, growers have been vulnerable to middlemen—until now. Five hundred families are participating in a program established by the OGT that offers technical assistance with processing, marketing, and quality control. The OGT plans to use income from coffee production to purchase sacred sites, strengthen cultural practices, and provide funding for autonomous governance, including their ongoing commu- nity assemblies. The Kogi, Wiwa, Arhuaco, and Kankuamo of the Sierra Nevada are working in both the physical and spiritual realms to protect and defend the sacred heart of the world. They are nurturing the life force of nature, which in turn keeps the world alive in a continuous cycle of reciprocity. —Atossa Soltani is the founder and executive director of Amazon Watch. Evelyn Arce (Chibcha) is executive director of International Funders for Indigenous Peoples. To learn more about the Kogi, visit their website: gonawindua.com, or email jose_ email@example.com.
Cultural Survival Quarterly
March 2014 • 13
We Walk on Our Ancestors
The Sacredness of the Black Hills Leonard Little Finger
n 1883, my grandfather, Saste, was a child of seven years. With his parents, he traveled in a group into the Black Hills in South Dakota for a sacred prayer journey to Washun Niye, a site from which Mother Earth breathes. They were following a path that had been a journey for his people for thousands of years. In preparation for the ceremony, the women dried the hide of a pte, or tatanka (buffalo), which was carried to this site for the sacred ceremony. The cannupa (sacred pipe) acknowledged pte by returning the hide to the world; upon completion of the prayers, the hide would be dropped into the hole. As my grandfather watched, Washun Niye carried the hide downward in a spiraling motion, soon to be enveloped into the darkness. The power of the sacred circle which has no ending was affirmed. I heard this story in 1947, in Lakota, at the age of eight, seven years before he was to make his spirit journey—from which we all come as a spirit or soul. It took me many years to understand the importance of his story, because we must revisit anything of importance many times before we can fully understand its significance. When one finally understands, then begins the process of interpretation. The spiritual quest of truth, especially for Indigenous people, is in this process. My grandfather and I are from a sub-band of the Teton, a member of the Nation of the Seven Council Fires. We are called the Mniconjou, or People Who Plant Near the Water. In the 1500s, one of our villages was the location of present day Rapid City along the streams of Mniluzahan Creek, or Rapid Creek, which is today’s northern gateway to the Black Hills of South Dakota. Our family has had a spiritual relationship with this special land for over 500 years. The Black Hills were recognized as the Black Hills because of the darkness from the distance. The term also referred to a container of meat; in those days people used a box made out of dried buffalo hide to carry spiritual tools, like the sacred pipe, or the various things that were used in prayers or to carry food. That’s the term that was used for the Black Hills: they were a container for our spiritual need as well as our needs of food and water, whatever it is that allows survival.
A Legacy of Threats
The story of the Black Hills is an age-old conflict between imperialism and the understanding of their spiritual significance
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as a sacred site. The threats to our sacred lands began when the first two treaties were drawn up with the federal government. The first was in 1851 recognizing several tribes, including the People of the Seven Council Fires, and identified the territories of each tribe. In 1868 the Fort Laramie treaty designated an area that included the entire western half of South Dakota, with the eastern line marked by the Missouri River and a portion of North Dakota and Wyoming. We would not, as a nation, be recognized. When gold was discovered in Montana, the trails leading to it came into the territory of the Sioux. In 1872, General Custer led a contingent of gold mining experts, theologists, and botanists into the Black Hills. Although just traces of gold were found in the streams, it was an indication that there was probably gold, veins of gold in the hills, so the US government sent two commissions to renegotiate the treaty. One of the articles stated that three-fourths of the male population had to agree to any amendments. Both commissions failed to achieve an agreement, so in 1874 Congress declared that treaties would no longer be used. Following this action (which nullified Article 6 of the US Constitution), more than 25,000 gold seekers came into the Black Hills over a very short period of time, essentially claiming that land. It’s been estimated that during that time up until 2005, when the last gold mine was shut down, approximately 500 billion ounces, or $9 trillion worth, of gold were extracted. Problems continued in 1888 when North and South Dakota were admitted into the union and the Sioux were forced onto reservations to become US citizens. In 1876 the Sioux had wiped out General Custer and the entire 7th Cavalry in Montana, becoming the only nation to ever defeat the United States in battle. That really marked us for violation, leading to the massacre at Wounded Knee in 1890. All of these things led to the people moving away from the Black Hills, away from the sacred sites for their spiritual journeys; we could no longer go back without the threat of being jailed or killed. In the early 1920s the Sioux filed a complaint with the Indian Claims Commission alleging that the United States had illegally taken the land that had been designated to us by the treaties of 1851 and 1868. The claim entered the Supreme Court in 1962 and took nearly 20 years to settle, enduring as the longest court case in US history. On June 30, 1980 the Supreme Court determined that the United States had indeed violated the treaty of the People of the Seven Council Fires: not just the Sioux, but the original title that we were known
by. However, the federal government argued that it could not give back the land since it is occupied and includes the national monument of Mount Rushmore, a sculpture on a sacred site. The government offered compensation—for the value of the land in 1876, prior to its occupation and the gold that was extracted, including interest—of $350 million. Of course the People of the Seven Council Fires rejected that offer. The Black Hills is a sacred grandmother to us, filled with sacred power sites. How can one sell a sacred grandmother? Now we have an opportunity to sit down in a unified way to discuss the Black Hills and the threat that is coming from ourselves as a people, as we have begun to travel the road of assimilation. Less and less people speak our native language, Lakota. Less and less adhere to the spiritual significance because of the introduction of Christianity to the reservations. One of my fears is that there is a day coming that the Bureau of Indian Affairs will sit down at a table with the offer and our people will accept the money. At that point, thousands and thousands of years of spiritual significance of the Black Hills will be left to the wayside because the new culture of the new people that have come onto the reservation will see the same meaning in the value of the money. Our Place in History
Leonard Little Finger.
Photo courtesy of Dana Gluckstein.
Recently we were asked as elders to look at some aerial photos of the southern Black Hills. We looked at them as sacred circles, and in an aerial photo we saw the image of the big dipper. This is an image of what we are, the journey of the Black Hills, the sacred journey known as “seeking sacred goodness” and the pipe that is used, the cannupa. Today the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples gives us the modern tools to stand up and declare our rights. We have come back to the table on the basis of what is recognized for Indigenous Peoples’ rights and on the basis of what sacredness is. Our beliefs are substantiated by the image of the aerial rock formations in the sacred circle that were left by our ancestors thousands of years ago. The desecration of the Black Hills is indicative of the violation of the sacredness of who we are as a people. The insides of Grandmother Earth are being taken; the atmosphere, the area that’s there to protect us and all things is being destroyed. Earth is our grandmother, as animate as we all are, because she provides us with all of our needs to live. From the time of birth until now I look at that relationship as sacred. When our life ends here on Grandmother Earth, we become as one. This sacredness means that we walk on our ancestors. As Indigenous Peoples we are guided by the spiritualism of greater powers than we humans. We don’t seek equality, we seek justice. This is who we are, and this is where we come from. —Leonard Little Finger is a respected Lakota elder and the founder-director of Sacred Hoop School, a Lakota language school in Ogalala, South Dakata: www.lakotacirclevillage.org.
John “Saste” Little Finger, Leonard Little Finger’s grandfather, survivor of the Wounded Knee Creek Massacre. Photo courtesy of Leonard LittleFinger.
Cultural Survival Quarterly
March 2014 • 15
Overlook on the rim of Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania. Photo courtesy of Thomas Huston
(Dis)honoring Indigenous Rights Mililani Trask
he 1972 Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage sets out a framework “to ensure that effective and active measures are taken for the protection, conservation and presentation of the cultural and natural heritage.” Increasingly, however, the World Heritage site program, made famous through sites like Pompeii and the Great Wall of China, has come to ignore the sovereignty and rights of the Indigenous Peoples who inhabit and share the areas it was created to protect. Sites such as the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument in Hawai’i and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area in Tanzania have been placed on the World Heritage site list at the suggestion of local or national governments without the Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) of the Indigenous Peoples to whom those sites belong and have religious, cultural, and economic value. The practice of designating a location as a World Heritage site can have a profound and long-lasting impact not only on the site itself, but also on the livelihood and wellbeing of the surrounding Indigenous communities. Indeed, Indigenous Peoples to whom these sites belong rarely benefit from the funding, tourism, and other ramifications that accompany World Heritage site status. Throughout the history of the World Heritage program, the principles of consent and consultation of the Indigenous communities involved have frequently been lacking from UNESCO’s “Five C’s” of credibility, conservation, capacity-building, communication, and communities. One of the most dramatic examples of the unilateral and non-inclusive methods through which World Heritage sites are established was the establishment of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, also known as the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Marine National Monument, which includes 140,000 square miles of ocean, islands, and atolls of the Hawaiian Islands. The Northwest Hawaiian Islands were previously controlled by the Indigenous Peoples of Hawai’i prior to annexation by the United States in 1893, and were declared an ecosystem reserve by President Clinton in 2000. In 2006, President Bush declared the area a national monument under the control of the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Hawai’i Department of Land and Natural Resources, at which time all Indigenous fishing and commercial activity were prohibited. The proclamation additionally required Indigenous Hawaiian communities (to whom the region had originally belonged) to apply for permission before traveling through or engaging in cultural or religious rituals in the new maritime monument. 16 • ww w. cs. org
The monument declaration did, however, allow for unlimited access and use of the area by the United States armed forces, while simultaneously waiving all EPA regulations. At no point during this process were Native Hawaiian communities consulted, nor was their Free, Prior and Informed Consent obtained, although over 200 “public” hearings were held. The US said that Hawaiians were part of the public and should have attended the public meetings. President Obama’s administration continues to ignore the demands for Indigenous consultation and consent during its selection of the monument for World Heritage site status, as did UNESCO, which only met with individuals—none Indigenous— who were selected by the US government. The UN’s approval in 2010 of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area in Tanzania as a World Heritage site is another example of UNESCO’s failure to gain the Free, Prior and Informed Consent of Indigenous communities. The Ngorongoro site was home to some 20,000 Maasai inhabitants, yet there is little evidence that Maasai communities were involved in the consultation process during the nomination of the area. Since then, the disruption to the pastoral system in Ngorongoro has made it impossible for the Maasai in the conservation area to live a life that depends on livestock alone. In a discomfiting trend, Indigenous Peoples similarly were not properly consulted during the the Sangha Trinational World Heritage site nomination process in Cameroon, the Western Ghats mountain region site in India, or the Kenya Lake system in the Great Rift Valley. UNESCO and the World Heritage Committee’s failure to consult with Indigenous Peoples and obtain their Free, Prior and Informed Consent violates Article 1 of the International Covenant on Political and Civil Rights and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. By minimizing the participation of Indigenous Peoples and communities in the nomination process for World Heritage sites, Indigenous Peoples are denied the right to self-determination. Such negligence causes devastating harm to the economic resources and livelihoods of affected communities, and prevents them from accessing cultural and religious sites essential to their history and identity. When UNESCO and the World Heritage Committee fail to get FPIC from Indigenous Peoples, they not only ignore a raft of international resolutions, but violate— if not openly flaunt—their own rules and strictures. —Miliani Trask (Native Hawaiian) is an Indigenous Peoples’ rights attorney and Indigenous and community advisor to Innovations Development Group.
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Understanding Culture and Language Ethnocide A Native Perspective Neyooxet Greymorning
he idea of language loss is so foreign to ethnocentric America that in order to help my students make sense of it, I often turn history on its head: Imagine a hypothetical age of World War Z. You are living in a small English-speaking community in the Czech Republic when calamity strikes, cutting you off from the rest of the world. Believing that this will now be your home for the next 20 to 30 years, would you encourage your family and community to abandon English for the local dominant language? Over years of presenting this scenario, the responses of my students have been consistently “no.” Most give nationalistic reasons, while others, not really knowing why, simply respond that they wouldn’t abandon English. Taking this line of questioning a step further and supposing the Czech government pressured your little community to become Czech speakers—if you believed your community might be the last speakers of English, would you then abandon it? Students still almost always say they would not abandon the English language. In other words, even when having no real reason why a language destined to die should be clung to, students unwaveringly say they would not abandon their language. When North America was first being explored by Europeans, it is said that there were over 600 distinct languages spoken on the continent. With his famous slogan “Kill the Indian, save the man,” Richard Pratt, founder of the Carlisle Indian school, implemented one of the most effective weapons used to destroy Native cultures and languages in North America: the institutionalization of boarding schools. What is generally not known about boarding schools is the amount of money spent to accomplish their goals. From the mid-1880s to 1930s in Montana, Idaho, and Washington, the United States government spent over $250 million to kill the cultures and languages of Indians in that region. If one were to extrapolate a figure for all of the United States, it would exceed $1 billion (not adjusted for inflation) for that time period. Last September, I asked an archeologist what is cited as the accepted population for Native people prior to contact. I was stunned when he told me it was 1.2 million. When I challenged this number as being too low, he reiterated that this was the accepted figure. Even in high school I couldn’t understand how Americans believed that prior to European contact, the Indian population, in a country rich with resources and absent of the diseases that plagued Europe, had never increased. This stands in stark contrast to a European population that managed to increase in spite of its many calamities and diseases. It is worth noting that in Disease and Demography in the Americas, the editors reference population estimates of Indians in the Western hemisphere in the 13th century as exceeding 50 million.
Neyooxet Greymorning Photo by Brian McDermott
During the taking of the West, a common slogan was “the only good Indian is a dead Indian;” many white people believed that this necessitated promoting the massacre of Indians, which might explain why in the state of California, the law permitting the killing of Indians wasn’t repealed until well into the 1900s. When I was in middle school, I learned about when some 6 million Jewish people lost their lives in Germany, it was called a holocaust. I often wonder why we aren’t taught about the holocaust that occurred in North America. —Neyooxet Greymorning is a professor of anthropology and Native American studies at the University of Montana and executive director of Hinono’eitiit Ho’oowu’ (Arapaho Language Lodge) in Wyoming.
Of the original Indigenous Peoples and more than 300 languages in North America, nearly 600 tribes and 175 living languages remained in 1997. Of these languages many were spoken primarily by elders, and 125 languages of the 175 were spoken only by middle aged or older adults. Fifty-five languages were spoken by 1 to 6 people, and only 20 were spoken widely by children. As many as 55 languages may have disappeared since 1997 (Indigenous Language Institute). The decline of languages did not occur in a vacuum. It is the result of decades of racist and discriminatory policies towards Native people. Cultural Survival Quarterly
March 2014 • 17
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Language Healers Revitalizing Languages, Reclaiming Identities Brian McDermott
W Renee Grounds, Euchee language instructor
Mike Williams, chief of the Yupiit Nation
Karen Washinawatok, director of the Menominee Language and Culture Commission
David Harrison, linguist, author, and National Geographic fellow
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hen I first began making Heenetiineyoo3eihiiho’ (Language Healers), a film on the subject of Native language loss and revitalization, some of the people I know said things like, “When languages disappear, that’s natural; it’s survival of the fittest,” and “If kids don’t want to speak their languages, they won’t and so the languages disappear; it’s that simple,” or even, “What do Native Americans want? To separate off from the rest of America?” As I thought about these statements, I couldn’t help but wonder if there was a deeper issue operating beneath their responses. I began to feel that these dismissive reactions represented a larger, unconscious bias that fails to acknowledge not only the past role of the United States in the genocide/ethnocide that led to language loss among Native Americans, but also the fact that Native languages and cultures are distinct, essential to tribal identity, inherently worthy of existing, and need to be pro- tected and saved here in the US—where they have existed all along and prior to the presence of English. Conrad Fisher, a Tribal historic preservation officer for the Northern Cheyenne Tribe who appears in the film, clarifies the importance of language revitalization this way: “The Indigenous language doesn’t necessarily equal the English language because it is a traditional, cultural view of your world that has been passed down from generation to generation. And so when you talk the language, you’re talking on behalf of your ancestors from a thousand, two thousand years ago. You’re looking at it through an Indigenous lens of generations of people. So if you don’t have that, if you don’t have the language, then who are you?” To assume that language is simply a utilitarian tool for communication and that all languages are the same misses the deeper point: one’s culture, identity, and unique worldview are all housed within and transmitted through the language. Karen Washinawatok, director of the Menominee Language and Culture Commission, agrees: “Knowing our language is so important, because it teaches us who we are. It’s not just a set of words. It’s about our history, it’s about our heritage, it’s about our way of life that our ancestors have fought and died for. Most importantly...when you make that journey over to the other side—when your earthly journey is completed—that Creator’s going to greet you by your spirit name and speak to you in your Native language. Are you going to be able to understand? Will you know enough of your language to know what’s being spoken?” The issue of maintaining connection between one’s present identity and past heritage hits especially close to home for Washinawatok; in 2012 her granddaughter Miranda was punished for speaking a few words of the Menominee language at her Catholic school in Shawano, Wisconsin. Menominee is critically endangered with only a handful of fluent speakers remaining. The Washinawatoks explained that the incident at Miranda’s school had reminded them of the boarding school movement, through which their ancestors were being punished and stigmatized for speaking their Native languages. Neyooxet Greymorning, a professor of anthropology and Native American studies at the University of Montana (see article on p. 17), explains the effect of the boarding school movement on Native languages. In his words, government officials would remove the children and sometimes transport them hundreds of miles away to these boarding schools where they would remain for years—and sometimes grow up. “The single goal of these boarding schools was to alienate them from the culture, from the language, and then to basically reprogram them,” he says. Richard Grounds, director of the Euchee Language Project in
Sapulpa, Oklahoma adds that government officials were “going into every tribe, going into every home, finding every kid” and that “the amount of money that went into destroying our languages was on the order of billions of dollars in today’s dollars.” But even as tribes deal with the pain of historical traumas—as well as with more recent attempts at the suppression of their languages—a story of healing and the strength of tribal communities emerges. In a country where 27 states have already enacted English-only laws, it is important to know that many of the younger and older generations within the tribes are working hard to keep their languages alive. Renée Grounds, the lead language instructor and youngest fluent speaker of Euchee explains: “Our generation is the last chance to...give the children an opportunity to speak our language, because if we don’t do it now, our first language speakers will pass away and our language will go with them.” Keeping languages alive within tribes is also correlated with keeping the younger people in tribes alive. The suicide rate among Native Americans in the United States is reported to be anywhere from 9 to 19 times higher than the rate among non-Native youth. However, research from Canada concludes that Aboriginal youth who know their own Aboriginal languages are less likely to commit suicide, and that when at least half of a tribe reported a conversational knowledge of its own language, the suicide rate in that community drops to zero. As Richard Grounds says, “Our heritage languages, our original languages are probably the most critical markers of the health of our communities in terms of our cultural well-being. And that relates to understanding who we are, that relates to understanding what our place is in the world…the fullness of that understanding comes with the language, and the health of the language is probably the most critical marker of how our communities are doing.” The good news is that tribal efforts to reclaim languages, strengthen communities, reinforce identities, and bolster connections to unique ancestral worldviews are succeeding. Greymorning, whose effective Native language immersion teaching method (Accelerated Second Language Acquisition) is surveyed in the film, has been instructing teachers from over 100 different language communities around the world. And Richard Grounds reports that the Euchee Language Project in Sapulpa has recently generated 10 new Euchee speakers—an amazing accomplishment considering there are only four fluent Euchee elders remaining. And there are dozens of other success stories. Sometimes the stories about language revitalization revolve around education, and other times they are about small, yet profound moments of human interconnectedness occurring through language. Benjamin Schliefman, a Tlingit carver, artist, and traditional dancer, has some heartfelt words to describe what his heritage language means to him, which show us just how deep into one’s identity languages go. “Our two-year-old—when he came into this world—he came into a song that I composed for him almost entirely in Tlingit. And it was the most incredible experience for me. Because there I am singing a song that I made for him in the language of his ancestors, and he came out facing away from me, and when his torso was out and his arms were out, he actually spun around, looked at me, and smiled. And I think it’s because he heard the language of his ancestors. So to me, it’s far more than just a language. It really is the culture. It’s our ancestry.” —Brian McDermott is a filmmaker and social worker.
To watch a trailer of the film, visit: goo.gl/VEqQff.
Dr. Richard Grounds, director of the Euchee Language Project
Miranda Washinawatok, Menominee
Benjamin Schleifman, Tlingit carver, artist, and traditional dancer
Conrad Fisher, tribal historic preservation officer for the Northern Cheyenne Tribe
Cultural Survival Quarterly
March 2014 • 19
A Voyage Around the World—In a Canoe Kaimana Barcarse (CS STAFF)
ould you believe that the Hawaiian voyaging movement began as a scientific and social experiment? In 1973, an anthropologist named Ben Finney, Hawaiian artist Herb Kawainui Kāne, and sailor/surfer/waterman Tommy Holmes formed the Polynesian Voyaging Society. Their first task was to build a replica of a Hawaiian deep-sea voyaging canoe, as one had not sailed the Hawaiian waters in over 600 years. The canoe was built to prove that the Hawaiian people of old could purposefully navigate the open ocean between Hawai’i and the islands of the south as documented in our traditions of storytelling and chants, and also to prove that our ancestors did not populate these Polynesian islands by accident as asserted by Western researchers. However, for the Native Hawaiians that dove headfirst into building this canoe and preparing for this voyage, this was no mere experiment: this was bringing back a tradition; this was a source of pride for all of Hawai’i. On the 8th of March 1975, the double hull voyaging canoe Hōkūle’a was born. She was launched and dedicated at Hakipu’u on the island of O’ahu. She is 62 feet long and 20 feet wide, and can hold a crew of 12–14 voyagers. Hōkūle’a was built for just one round trip voyage to Tahiti and back;
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the return to Hawai’i was to mark the end of the experiment and the end of her voyaging. However, on March 8, 1975 a canoe was not merely launched—a living force was born. The return to Hawai’i from Tahiti would prove not to be the end of her voyaging, but just the beginning. Indeed, Hōkūle’a continued to voyage, becoming a symbol of hope and pride for the Hawaiian people. From that first voyage until today, Hōkūle’a has sailed over 130,000 nautical miles. She has reopened the voyaging pathways of the Polynesian triangle of Hawai’i in the north; Aotearoa in the southwest; and Rapa Nui in the southeast, as well as the routes to the islands in between. Northern corners of the Pacific have also been sailed, from North America through Alaska in the east to Japan in the west. Hōkūle’a has also sailed to honor our ancestors in the islands to our northwest, to Nihoa, Mokumanamana, and the rest of the northwest Hawaiian Islands. She has paid homage to our master teacher and father, Pius “Papa Mau” Piailug, on his home island of Satawal in Micronesia. The Pacific has been sailed, and is once again familiar. In 2007, after Hōkūle’a returned from her voyage to Japan, the leaders of the ’Ohana Wa’a, a leadership consortium of the Hawaiian voyaging families established in 2006, met to start the planning of an epic voyage, one longer and more dangerous, like none other yet undertaken: a World Wide Voyage. This voyage would cover 47,000 miles and visit 85 ports in
26 countries, requiring 300 crewmembers for the various legs, representing Hawai’i and 16 other nations. For such a long voyage, much preparation is needed. Hōkūle’a was drydocked and rebuilt from bare hulls to give her more strength and room to be well equipped for entering foreign seas. This is a voyage long in time as well as in distance, scheduled to take a total of three years to complete, as sailing will only be done during the hurricane-free windows of the various oceans. As such, it requires well-trained and experienced crewmembers. In order to ready so many crew members, the crew training has been intensified and many training sails have been undertaken into the deep ocean for the crew members to become familiar with Hōkūle’a’s improvements. This epic voyage is not being undertaken simply to prove that it can be done, but rather to engage in some critical dialogue with those around the world. As a people of the ocean, we Hawaiians understand our direct connection as humans to the health of the land and the sea. As voyagers, we consider our canoe to be our island, and the islands our canoes. And for our canoe to live and thrive, we need to take care of each other, take care of our canoe, and take care of our ocean. It behooves us all to take care of this island that we all share, this island we call Earth. So in this voyage around our island Earth, we will share the lessons we have learned of sustainability and accountability, and learn from others who steward their land and sea, especially those of the First Nations peoples who have an intimate knowledge of their environment spanning centuries. Together, as inhabitants of island Earth, we can build the path to a sustainable future. The year 2013 marked the first leg of the World Wide Voyage, consisting of a voyage around our island chain entitled Mālama Hawai’i, or “To Care for Hawai’i.” It is our tradition to visit our family before embarking on a long journey; we do so to gather up the love, strength, and support of our families, our foundation. And upon our return, our voyage will not be complete until we again sail throughout our islands, this time to share the knowledge and aloha that we gained from the rest of the world. This short article is meant to entice you, reader, to follow our voyage in future issues of the Cultural Survival Quarterly over the next three years. We will continue to bring updates of All photos by Kaimana Barcarse
Traditional crab claw sails ablaze in the setting sun. Inset (L–R): Master Navigator Nainoa Thompson, Master Carver & Seaman Tava Ta’upu, and Crew Member Ikaika Vivas.
the voyage, the people we meet, and the things we have learned. We will give you deeper insight into our voyaging and navigation traditions, and will profile the voyaging ’Ohana in Hawai’i and throughout the Pacific. So come, lift the sails, and let us take this journey together. * ’Ohana Wa’a members: Polynesian Voyaging Society, Friends of Hōkūle’a & Hawai’iloa, Nā Kālai Wa’a moku o Hawai’i, Nā Kālai Wa’a o Kaua’i, Moloka’i Voyaging ’Ohana, ’Imiloa, ’Aha Pūnana Leo-Honuakai Division, Hale’iwa Voyaging ’Ohana, a me Hui O Wa‘a Kaulua (Maui).
He Huaka’i a Puni ka Honua Ua ho’omaka ke aukahi ho’okele wa’a Hawai’i ma ke ’ano he ho’okolohua ’epekema a pilikanaka. Ua ho’okumu ’ia ka Polynesian Voyaging Society (PVS) ma ka makahiki ’Umikumamaiwakanahikukumamakolu e Ben Finney –ne he mea pa –heona he hulikanaka, Herb Kawainui Ka Hawai’i, a me Tommy Holmes he holokai a he’enalu. –pili ’ana i wa’a kaulua ’O ka hana mua, ’o ia ho’i ke ka holo kai uli ’oiai ’a’ole i loa’a ia ’ano wa’a e holo ana ma –pili ’ia Hawai’i no ’eono haneli a ’oi paha makahiki. Ua ka _ – keia wa’a no ka ho ’oia ’ana i ka hiki i ka Hawai’i kahiko ke holo ma waena o Hawai’i a me ko Kahiki ma ke ’ano – ku – puna i palapala ’ia ma na – mo’olelo a me na – mele o na – kahiko, a ’a’ole i ho’ea wale i Hawai’i ma ke ’ano he – na’e, no na – ulia e like me ka mana’o o ka haole. Eia no – – Hawai’i i komo piha ma ke kapili wa’a a me ka ho’oma kaukau ’ana no ka holo i Kahiki, ’a’ole ia he ho’okolohua, he kumu ha’aheo ia no ko Hawai’i a puni… To finish reading this article in Hawaiian, visit: goo.gl/ZHYsXg.
Cultural Survival Quarterly
March 2014 • 21
Shared Vision in Many Languages Community Radio Unifies Indigenous Maya Youth
International Radio Conference for Indigenous Youth participants from Guatemala, Belize, and El Salvador.
Jessie Cherofsky (CS STAFF)
t was the morning of 7 Ajpu according to the Maya calendar, a date that represents strength, confidence, and bravery. Fifty-three Indigenous youth representing three countries and at least seven distinct Indigenous communities gathered in the shadow of volcanoes on a secluded patio overlooking Guatemala’s Lake Atitlan to participate in a traditional Maya ceremony. The ceremony would usher in the First International Radio Conference for Indigenous Youth, to take place from November 26–28, 2013. The event’s goal was to build networks and foster collaboration among Indigenous youth from Guatemala, Belize, and El Salvador, using community radio and shared Maya culture as the foundation and medium for their work. On the first day of the exchange, the youth heard panels led by community elders and experts. Felipe Gomez, an Ajq’ij Maya K’iche leader who led the opening ceremony, spoke about the perception of justice and environmental stewardship in Maya Cosmovision and how knowledge of traditional Maya beliefs can fortify the youths’ work. Nana Maria, a Kaqchikel elder, described Maya traditional justice systems in which the concept of prisons does not exist. She talked about the necessity of finding ways for the official justice system to respect and make space for Maya justice, which is restorative, not retributive. Other panelists discussed young women’s empowerment, human rights, and community radio. Youth responded respectfully and critically to the panelists’ presentations, asking tough questions about how to put their ideas into practice. One youth asked, “How can Indigenous youth gain access to high level planning when we are always told
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that we don’t have the capacity or experience?” The event aimed to answer this question by openly acknowledging the discrimination youth face and by empowering them with tools and language to address injustice. Later in the day, a visit to Radio La Voz de Atitlan, the local community radio station, gave non-local youth a chance to wander Santiago’s narrow, cobbled streets with their enticing scents of traditional street food. Once at the radio station, the youth toured the recording booths and conference spaces. For some, it was their first experience visiting a community radio station. Later, the entire group squeezed into the small home of the local traditional authority, who described the important role of the ancestral authorities in the community. He spoke in Tz’utujil, which was then translated into Spanish for the Guatemalan and Salvadorian youth. From Spanish, his words were translated into English for the Belizean youth. These chains of translation highlighted the richness of the cultures that make up today’s Maya peoples. On the second day, Francisco Coché Pablo of Community Development Association of Panabaj (ADECCAP), Jose Roberto Benitez Velasco of El Salvador, and Alberto “Tino” Recinos, Cultural Survival director of citizen participation and president of Mujb’ab’l yol Radio Association, shared their experiences as guerrilla fighters and community members during the devastating armed conflicts in Guatemala and El Salvador that threatened to extinguish the very Mayan cultures that this conference was working to strengthen. Their emotional accounts reminded the youth from all three countries of their shared history both for the sake of remembering and, as the presenters reiterated, so that the next generation could work against history repeating itself.
A traditional Maya ceremony opened the First International Radio Conference for Indigenous Youth.
Later, the youth broke into groups to discuss broad social and cultural questions to develop content that will be used for a regional radio series being produced by Tumul K’in Centre of Learning and Ak’Kutan Radio in Belize. Spanning language, age, and cultural differences, Maya youth delved into such topics as freedom of expression, teen pregnancy, and drug addiction. Later that day, groups participated in investigative journalism workshops. Youth with more radio experience led the workshops; other youth with little or no radio experience had a chance to practice interview techniques, first within their groups, and later via an investigative journalism practicum where they conducted interviews with other conference participants and facilitators, and then reformatted them into group presentations. During the community radio press conference on the final morning, the youth recorded these presentations for broadcast on their local community radio stations. On the last day, after presenting the findings of their investigative journalism interviews, the youth signed a declaration of the challenges they face and the responsibilities they would commit to fulfilling, emphasizing the development of relationships based on respect and dialogue among Central American Indigenous youth. Event participants demarcated language and communication as key to building Indigenous and youth self-determination and promoting social change. Earlier Recinos had commented that during the armed conflict, “we fought with weapons. The last thing I want is for youth to experience what I experienced. I can’t say that I liked the war, but I love my ideas.” Those ideas he fought for laid the foundation for today’s Indigenous youth working for social change. As one youth explained, within social movements “we’ve left behind our weapons; now we use international conventions and declarations. These are the machetes that we use now to defend our rights as Indigenous Peoples.” The youth in attendance were deeply aware of the importance of community radio. One participant from a Salvadorian community radio station commented, “As Indigenous youth, we suffer from many problems caused by the system All photos by Danielle DeLuca
Participants share the outcomes of workshop sessions.
that oppresses us. Being able to participate in community radio fills us with joy. Taking part in a form of media that is normally not open to youth in order to express our ideas and needs has been one of the most enriching experiences I’ve had.” Community radio takes on issues such as health, education, disabilities, and human rights. Eduardo Laroj, a Kaqchikel youth from Sumpango, Guatemala, said, “For me, community radio is a school where I have learned many things about children’s rights, women’s rights, and social struggles taking place in this country.” In addition to the conference’s planned activities, youth took advantage of other opportunities to relate to each other. English-speaking Belizean girls passed notes with Spanishspeaking Guatemalan girls, using their limited knowledge of each other’s language and endless laughter to communicate. Boys from Guatemala, Belize, and El Salvador played an impromptu game of soccer. As Brenda Garcia, a Tz’utujil youth from Radio Sembrador in San Pedro Atitlan, put it, “It was an excellent exchange. As we shared the situations occurring in each of our communities, we realized that we have a lot in common.” Among other things, the youth discovered a collective legacy of armed conflict and oppression of Indigenous peoples, languages, a unifying Cosmovision, and a shared love of soccer, too. Both within and outside of scheduled activities, youth from different geographic locations, different levels of experience with community radio and Maya practices, and perhaps most powerfully, different languages, came together with the goal of reclaiming their rights and connecting with other youth. A frequent refrain reminded the young people of how much work is yet to be done as the conference, the second in a series of three, provided a space for the network building necessary to that work. The words of one Guatemalan youth summed up a sentiment that was palpable over the three days: “I am grateful to community radio, which has offered me this opportunity to share with our Salvadorian and Belizean brothers and sisters.”
Cultural Survival Quarterly
March 2014 • 23
Indigenous Communities Connect Over Land Exploitation
Quechua monitors note the areas where toxic petroleum runoff pollutes ground water near Andoas, Peru.
Jessie Cherofsky and Matilde Chocooj Coc
W (CS STAFF)
e traveled for five days by car, boat, and two airplanes to reach the remote community of Andoas in the Peruvian Amazon,” says Matilde Chocooj Coc, an Indigenous Q’eqchi Maya woman from El Estor, a community in the northwest of Guatemala. She, along with two fellow Cultural Survival staff members, made the journey to Andoas in the Loreto region of Peru to learn about the Indigenous Amazonian experience of over 40 years of oil extraction without the free, prior, and informed consent of the communities affected by the drilling. The visit would provide an opportunity for Chocooj Coc and members of the Quechua Federation of the Upper Pastaza (FEDIQUEP) to exchange stories and learn from each other’s experiences of resource exploitation without consent or consultation.
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at Quechua-Maya Intercambio On the boat ride upriver to Andoas, Chocooj Coc began to get a taste of what life was like along the Pastaza River: “The tiny communities seemed to be dedicated purely to fishing and agriculture; from what I could tell, there wasn’t any other occupation. The couples each had five or six children that looked very malnourished, badly dressed, and the women as well. You could see the lack of attention these communities receive from the State.They are very poor,” she says. In Nuevo Andoas, the situation was much the same. The town has literally been built with refuse from the oil company, PlusPetrol, and its predecessor, Occidental Petroleum, whose installation looms over the tiny town. Upon arriving in Andoas, the Cultural Survival delegation was invited to attend the first day of a training for the Indigenous Environmental Monitors of Andoas and surrounding communities. These monitors play an important role: where the oil companies have caused devastating contamination without proper—or in many cases, any—remediation, the volunteer monitors spend weeks each month trekking through the heavy, humid air of the jungle in order to track down and monitor contamination sites. Their deep familiarity with and love for their territory makes them the most suitable candidates for environmental monitoring; they are able to navigate the difficult terrain, feed themselves along the way, and perhaps most importantly, they are profoundly invested in the outcome. Cultural Survival’s visit coincided with that of E-Tech International, an environmental technical consulting nonprofit that works largely with Indigenous communities. Ricardo Segovia, an E-Tech environmental engineer, was there to train the monitors to gather precise scientific data on each contaminated site. Chocooj Coc had the opportunity to speak with many of the community monitors, as well as the apus (traditional leaders), as the group hiked through the forest and carefully took notes on sites of extensive oil contamination. She observed that “the oil company does not care about the damage it is causing to the people who live in the area, much less does it consult the communities about whether or not they want the company there. The company worries solely about how much it can earn. They do not use appropriate techniques to avoid contamination of the ecosystem, which is why our Indigenous brothers and sisters now suffer the consequences. Agricultural production of local foods like plantain, yucca, potatoes, and papaya has decreased, as plants no longer bear as healthy or as much fruit as before. This has a major effect since these are families’ principal food sources.” Further, “the river that provides water to the communities for consumption, cooking, and washing is also contaminated. The people continue eating contaminated fish, as well as wild
animals, because they have no other choice, nowhere else to get food from. The Indigenous leaders we spoke with said that when they cook fish, an oil seeps out which carries the odor of petroleum. The surface of the river water is shiny and some of the water is totally black,” Chocooj Coj reported. The Indigenous monitors have developed a system that responds actively to the lack of outside support. They take photographs, GPS coordinates, and samples, which they send to outside labs—all of which, according to the monitors, have shown contamination. “It is a very good strategy,” Chocooj Coc says of the monitoring program. “If they weren’t monitoring, the company would have no qualms about continuing to contaminate the little that is left.” One of the Indigenous Quechua monitors confirms this: “If we weren’t here monitoring on a monthly basis, the company would cover it up.” The Cultural Survival team had the strange fortune to witness just such a coverup in the apparent overnight disappearance of a contamination site. Upon finding a new site of petroleum contamination—an opaque pond of black, gunky oil—FEDIQUEP Vice President Apu David Chino and community organizer Wendy Piñeda called the Peruvian Environmental Evaluation and Enforcement Agency. The next day when an official arrived to look at the site, the tarry pool had been covered with water and the disastrous spill effectively masked. FEDIQUEP monitors are divided over the effectiveness of the monitoring program. Monitor Elmer Hualinga believes that little has improved; the health situation remains dire, remediation has been slow or non-existent, and little support has been provided by the State. Yet, others believe that there has been progress, that their documentation and denouncement of PlusPetrol’s careless activity compelled the government to declare an environmental state of emergency and to establish maximum permissible levels of contamination in water for human consumption, as well as leading to some improvement in PlusPetrol’s business practices. Chocooj Coc was impressed enough by the monitoring program that she wants to bring a similar training to her community so that they can be empowered to document and
Volunteer Quechua environmental monitors spend weeks each month trekking through the jungle in order to track down and monitor contamination sites. All photos by Danielle DeLuca
Matilde Chocooj Coc accompanies environmental monitors in Andoas in the Peruvian Amazon to witness the environmental degradation first hand.
fight undesired exploitation. Upon returning to Guatemala, she made a point of speaking to local Indigenous leaders about what she had seen. She commented that although there are oil companies in Guatemala, “this [was] the first time I saw something so terrible. I have not seen this level of contamination in Guatemala.” Thus, she wants to ensure that her local leaders take what is happening in Peru—and what could happen in Guatemala—into account when considering any kind of extractive project. “The situation in the Indigenous communities in Peru is similar to ours in Guatemala,” Chocooj Coco says. “In my community, there is mining and also an oil company. The people are getting sick there too. The corporations, in order to be able to work in a particular place, first promise work opportunities and development to the communities that live there. When they gain access to the territory, they forget their promises to the people and they don’t care that they are destroying Mother Earth. For Indigenous communities, the Earth is our mother, as she feeds us every day. “I also realized that that our Indigenous brothers and sisters live in extreme poverty. It makes me feel [sad]: why do international corporations dedicate themselves solely to taking our natural resources and they are the ones who become rich while the communities are left with the destruction of our natural resources, illness, and poverty?” Ultimately, though, Chocooj Coc is hopeful: “I believe this is the beginning,” she says. “I believe that what we are doing right now, sharing our experiences with each other, is something that can unite us as Indigenous Peoples, as Indigenous communities, in learning how we can defend our communities.” To learn more about our Peru: Force Oil Company to Clean Up Spills campaign, visit: cs.org/take-action/peru.
Cultural Survival Quarterly
March 2014 • 25
free , pr i or a n d in fo r m e d cons ent
Kannadiga Radio Producers Make Indigenous Rights Issues Local
ccording to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Indigenous communities have the right to give their Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) to proposed projects that may affect their lands, resources, livelihoods, and communities. This means that Indigenous communities have the right to decide whether to allow companies or governments to mine, deforest, or in other ways develop their lands, and they have the right to make informed decisions through culturally relevant processes based on their right to self-determination and sovereignty.
translating words and interpreting ideas in culturally appropriate ways. Shamanthaka Mani is an Indigenous Kannadiga radio producer from Karnataka, India. Mani has put a unique spin on the production and airing of FPIC material; instead of simply translating Cultural Survival’s programs into Kannada, she built a 45-minute Kannada language interactive program around the English-language public service announcements to more deeply involve listeners. Mani details the process: “First we played the English PSA. Later, I built programming around it from the Indian and Karnataka context. This was a general introduction in simple language without any jargon, taking a few national and state-level incidents as examples. For instance, converting agriculture land for either construction or setting up industries. In our Indian context it is called SEZ, or Special Economic Zone, which is a new policy by our government and has created a major uproar in the country. We explained incidents which happened in West Bengal and also in North Karnataka. I also made an effort to convey to the listeners that these types of issues are global and just not restricted to Karnataka or India; they are common phenomena even in advanced countries. This comparison is required psychologically to convince our rural audience to understand similar situations from global perspective. The emotional comparison made them think and analyze from a human angle. This was a technique to educate them about how governance works in human related issues, and was a new approach for our rural RJs (radio jockeys) as this program made them understand rights, Indigenous people, peace, human rights, accountability, etc. Later, Radio Sarathi Jhalak in Karnataka, India is one of over 500 Indigenous radio stations I trained my RJs especially how to deal with these particular issues at the local level—making them underbroadcasting important public service announcements about Indigenous rights stand by talking about our local issues, state government produced by Cultural Survival and our partners. Photo courtesy of Shamanthaka Mani. policies, and their effects on rural life was the focus of The central project of the Cultural Survival’s FPIC Initiaour program. During the program I asked them to share their tive is an innovative radio series for free, worldwide distribuexperience and views about that particular issue. tion to help Indigenous communities be better informed This project is an innovative approach to how to treat about their right to FPIC and be more prepared to assert it. and convert a global issue into a local issue. Our listeners One year in, the initiative is going strong: 28 programs on have interacted, responded, and participated in human rights, Indigenous Peoples’ right to consent to exploitation of their development projects, agriculture, and UN Declaration- lands, territories, and resources have been produced in Engrelated subjects. I enjoyed conceptualizing the project and lish and Spanish by four Indigenous producers, plus addiam sharing it as an example in a OneWorld content developtional programs on general Indigenous rights produced at the ment workshop as a resource person.” World Conference on Indigenous Women and other events. Programs have been translated into 13 Indigenous languages plus Nepali, and several more Indigenous language Learn about Free, Prior and Informed Consent productions are in progress. Programs have been distributed through our new radio series and get involved to over 500 Indigenous radio stations. Many translators have in the worldwide radio program distribution: taken on the task of directly translating Cultural Survival’s cs.org/consent. programs into their own languages, which includes both 26 • ww w. cs. org
B a za a r Ar tis t: Redesigning N ative A rt
Leonard & Amalia Four Hawks Amy Ferguson “
ative art is not just what was in the past; any kind of art has to grow,” explains Amalia FourHawks of the Fire Hawk Studio in Florence, Massachusetts. Amalia and her husband Leonard have been displaying their artwork, which includes jewelry and pottery, at Cultural Survival Bazaars since 2006. Leonard Four Hawks (Mohawk and Cheyenne) was raised mostly by his grandmother, who taught him about making traditional Native crafts. After serving in the military in Korea and Vietnam and later working as an electrical engineer with the government, he retired in order to devote his time to jewelry-making and leatherwork. As well as being a talented artist, Leonard is an engaging storyteller. He continues to bring Native stories, myths, and legends to children and adults of all ages at the Cultural Survival Bazaars. Amalia (Apache) grew up in a household that encouraged artistic endeavors. She learned beadwork at a young age, and later became interested in clay and sculpture. She also works with leather and sources from nature such as feathers, furs, and antlers. The Four Hawks’ work now includes Amalia’s pottery and clay sculptures, Leonard and Amalia’s jewelry, and items that they work on together. They also carry sterling and turquoise jewelry from the Southwest, made by Leonard’s sister, Yvette, and her granddaughters in Arizona. Given Amalia’s emphasis on the fluidity of Native American culture, it is not surprising that she has been creating new designs; she unveiled one of her new lines at this past season’s winter Bazaars. Amalia describes the
piece as a “contemporary take on southwest jewelry, a spiral design that drapes around the neck and doesn’t need to be fastened at the back of the neck.” She says that while it’s not a traditional Native American piece, or something you would see historically, “you look at them and you still know that you’re in a Native American booth, and see that the pieces are from the southwest.” She has also been creating what she calls pottery shards, pieces of clay deeply incised with traditional pottery style patterns, that are again a contemporary take on traditional art, pieces “reminiscent of pottery of the southwest.” Amalia says that she enjoys the Bazaars not only for the opportunity to sell her work, but also to communicate with the public and “educate them about [Native American] cultures.” She says that sometimes even educators think of Native Americans as relics of the past, and children will ask if they still live in huts. Bazaars are also a venue for her to learn about other Indigenous groups, and she loves seeing all the “colors and textures and artistic mediums.” When it comes to the Four Hawks’ involvement with Cultural Survival, Amalia says that “every year gets better. More and more we see the importance of the work they do; every year we see the absolute veracity of their dedication to their mission.” She calls the Bazaars a “microcosmic example” of the difference Cultural Survival makes: they benefit artists by providing a large outlet with the right demographic for Native art and by not charging a booth fee. While Amalia says she sometimes has trouble attracting customers interested in Native art at general trade shows, the Bazaars bring in her target audience. Cultural Survival is helping “keep cultures alive,” she says. “We have personally seen the impact of their work and know that we want to contribute to its continuation.”
The 2013 CS Bazaar series raised over $412,000 for Indigenous artisans and their communities. Find a Bazaar near you! Visit: bazaar.culturalsurvival.org.
our s upp o r t e r s Meet Our Winter Interns
Thank you to all of our wonderful Winter interns. Interns make the wheels spin at Cultural Survival and are an essential part of our work. (L–R): Jenna Winton, Tracie Sullivan, Alicja Kowalczyk, Kristen Williams, Elie Kommel, Omar Alcover. Missing from photo: Jordan Engel, Amadeus Kaebler, Emily Moline, and Holly Swanson.
Why We Support Cultural Survival “We advocate for and support Cultural Survival because this organization upholds Indigenous cultures and languages everywhere. Our dream is to help Cultural Survival financially through a financial endowment that can provide financial resources in perpetuity, and certainly for the next seven generations. Executive Director Suzanne Benally and the Cultural Survival Board have a most challenging task and they deserve all our support, in every way possible. We particularly support and promote the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.” —Beth and Dan Whittemore, Denver, CO
Support Cultural Survival Today! For over 41 years Cultural Survival has worked with Indigenous Peoples all over the world, from the Anuak people in Ethiopia to Maya communities in Guatemala. As we look forward to our next 40 years, it is essential that we continue to have your participation in our mission. For more information or to make your gift, go to
Leave a lasting legacy with a Planned Gift A gift from your estate through wills, trusts, life insurance, and retirement assets builds a foundation for Cultural Survival’s future while offering tax advantages to you. The Cultural Survival Legacy Society recognizes those members who have included Cultural Survival in their estate plans. For more information, go to cs.org/ plannedgiving, or call 617-441-5400.
Here are some ways you can get involved: • Renew your membership and continue to receive your own copy of the Cultural Survival Quarterly • Subscribe to our monthly e-newsletter to get the latest from Indigenous communities around the world • Be part of our Global Response Program and take action to support the rights of Indigenous Peoples by writing letters and sending emails 28 • ww w. cs. org • Stay connected by following us on Twitter (@CSORG) and liking us on Facebook (facebook.com/culturalsurvival)
i t c A e k Ta
Campaign Alert Guatemala
Save Indigenous Radio
ommunity radio has been a vital presence in Indigenous communities in Guatemala since the 1960s. Indigenous Peoples in Guatemala rely on community radio to keep their cultures, languages, and traditions alive as well as to inform their communities about issues and events relevant to their lives. Community radio also serves the vital function of distributing content to listeners in their own language, reaching even the poorest areas where radio may be the only affordable form of communication. The right to this media is clearly defined by the Guatemalan Peace Accords, the Guatemalan constitution, and organizations like the United Nations and the International Labor Organization, yet access to community radio remains restricted.
Deplorably, Guatemalan community radio stations are frequently targeted in police raids; community radio station Damasco was the most recent victim to this aggression in late November 2013. Police officers arrested the station’s DJ, Don Victor Angel, whose program content includes children’s music, parenting tips, and a focus on education, and seized expensive equipment. Angel is concerned for the future of Damasco: “We don’t know if we will be able to reinstall the radio station again, since this is the second time we have been raided in a period of 53 weeks. It might be the case that our community does not have the ability to support us with new transmission equipment,” he said. Bill 4479, recently proposed by one of Guatemala’s political parties, poses another threat to community radio stations; if passed, the legislation would criminalize community radio while compromising the fundamental right to free speech and censoring dissemination of information about human rights, thus facilitating the same violation of human rights that Indigenous Peoples of Guatemala have faced for centuries. In contrast, Bill 4087, which provides for the legalization of community radio, was proposed in 2010 but has not advanced. A similar law enacted in Argentina has proved beneficial to Indigenous Peoples by promoting their political participation, community cohesion, and self-sufficiency. If Bill 4087 is passed into law, Guatemala will finally see the democratization of media and take a meaningful step toward ending Indigenous repression, while also promoting peace and stability within the region as a whole. Please stand with us and help Indigenous Guatemalans secure the right to community radio and promote fundamental human rights globally.
Take Action! Join us in the fight for freedom of speech and human rights in Guatemala. Step 1: Write a letter to your representative and/or senators expressing that: • The United States should stand on the side of freedom of expression and work against violation of this right • In 2010 the United States enacted a community radio law; now it should pressure other governments to do the same • Community radio stations are vital to distributing information about rights, news, and educational programming to listeners in their own languages • Community radio reaches the poorest areas where radio may be the only affordable form of communication and where illiteracy is common • Prohibiting radio threatens Indigenous Peoples’ fundamental right to free speech, an essential component of any democracy Close by encouraging your senator or representative to sign and forward the enclosed letter to Guatemala's President Molina. Step 2: Visit our website to download our "Dear President Molina" letter to include with your message. Step 3: Email letters to your representative and/or senators, and consider mailing them to increase your impact. Followup phone calls can really emphasize your message. To find your congressional representative’s contact information, visit http:// whoismyrepresentative.com. To find your senator’s contact information, visit http://www. senate.gov/general/contact_ information/senators_cfm.cfm Please include culturalsurvival @culturalsurvival.org as a recipient in your email.
Indigenous Peoples have the right to establish their own media in their own languages. Cultural Survival Quarterly Marchthis 2014 right! • 29 Make your voice heard and stand with the Indigenous people of Guatemala in demanding
Your Gift Makes a Difference in Many Lives
“I know we have the right to: wear traje to school, learn in our Native languages, participate in politics, protect our cultures and heritage because I listen to community radio!” E l e n a Y a c h , c o mm unit y ra d io l ist e ne r in Gua te m a la .
Community Radio is OUR Right! Take action with us as we fight for the reform of a repressive telecommunications law in Guatemala (see page 29).
We count on your gift to continue our vital work in advancing Indigenous Peoples’ rights. Please support Cultural Survival today.
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