Cultural Survival's Accomplishments

Some of the longest-enduring cultures on Earth are those of Indigenous Peoples. Some of the best custodians of the planet we live on are Indigenous Peoples. Among those who most revere community and tradition, without which we are rootless, are Indigenous Peoples. There is much that the rest of humanity can learn from Indigenous Peoples in its search for survival and happiness. Instead these people are under attack all over the world because of greed, mistaken evangelism, and faulty theories of economic development. These are crimes against humanity, and Cultural Survival’s mission is to stop them.

We produce results. Here are excerpts from a letter we received from Michael Lolwerikoi, writing on behalf of the Pastoral Indigenous Community Samburu in Northern Kenya:

"As a result of brutal attacks which happened to us in 2009 and 2010, we were literally left with nothing. Our only source of livelihood and identity, the cattle, were taken away from us. Our houses which symbolize our cultural identity were burnt into ashes. Our women were tortured and abused. Our men were beaten, injured and others killed. Our young children disappeared mysteriously.

The brutal intrusion and the pollution of our land by the enemies of our culture and destiny have altered and dismantled our oral history. We shall never be the same again. The structural violence that has been done to us has constantly increased the level of our insecurity. We will never trust their administrative powers again.

We salute you for your courageous decision to lead a team to come and be with us and share our pains and traumatic experiences which we encountered through hands of powerful aggressors. Your courage is amazing to us! You came to be in solidarity with us. You had the courage to leave the comfort of your home in America. You and your team agreed to drink our dirty and contaminated waters from the Creeks. Thank You!

We thank you for writing down the fatal impact and the confiscations of properties, the attack of our beloved ones, and the deliberate attack on our culture and identity. Through the power of this documentation, the Global world is now aware of our current limbo state.

We thank you for all the correspondences that have been submitted to those in authority. We hope they have eyes to see and ears to listen and hearts of compassion and humanity. We thank you for making all these appeals on our behalf.

At the moment, we have no gift of cattle to give you. But we have a treasured hidden gold that we can give you. This is our prayers and our cultural heritage. We pray that the Creator, EnKai, will take care of you, your staff and your Board of Trustees.  We welcome you again to our pastoral land. Given the space and time of our communal harmony, please know that you have a place in our culture. You are no longer a stranger but one of us. Welcome!"

Our Guatemala Radio Program has been reaching an ever wider audience (now over 1.5 million, up from 400,000 just four years ago) of Mayan people, broadcasting much-requested information about health, nutrition, and their political rights, as well as educational material for their children, and traditional music programming, in 15 Mayan languages plus Spanish.  Francisco Macu, President of the Guatemala radio network wrote to us, saying: "Without the partnership with Cultural Survival, the community radio movement in Guatemala would probably have ceased to exist over the past year."

We have raised over $400,000 for endangered Native American languages and helped tribal language programs raise an additional $1million. Our Endangered Languages Program is part of a national coalition that successfully lobbied for increased federal funding for tribal language programs.

That’s not all. Cultural Survival has a remarkable history, now going back almost 40 years, of helping Indigenous Peoples by persuading governments and corporations to change their behavior. All over the world.

Stella Tamang, CS Board member from Nepal said, "Cultural Survival helps to bridge the divide between indigenous people and those from mainstream cultures, and this is essential."

Rosita Worl, Former CS Board Member from Alaska said,  "Cultural Survival's work over the last 38 years is one of the main reasons why there is now widespread acknowledgment of the distinctive rights of indigenous peoples around the world."

We produce results, and we are grateful for your financial and moral support for Cultural Survival, for without those, we could do nothing. But there is so much more to do. But to do more, we need more money.

So, I ask you to open your hearts and purse strings one more time, and welcome Suzanne Benally to her challenging and incredibly important new job as Executive Director of Cultural Survival by giving more. Make an online donation. Or call 617-441-5400, Ext 18. Don’t wait. Do it now, and the Indigenous Peoples of the world will bless you.