Mount Royal University
March 17, 2017
Who We Are and What We Do
Cultural Survival is a nonprofit group that is founded to help promote the human rights of indigenous peoples. The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples served as the guideline when this organization was established. This group is involved with various opportunities in order to strengthen their influence through the media and other platforms that will help give Indigenous Peoples a voice. They work to help them be more in control of their self-determination, cultures, traditions, and even ecosystems which the humankind should have already been taking care of, but not.
One of the main goals of the Cultural Survival since it was founded by anthropologist David Maybury-Lewis and his wife, Pia, 45 years ago is to defend the rights of Indigenous Peoples that are sometimes not recognized and to spread awareness all throughout the world about Indigenous peoples’ right and cultures. The Indigenous Peoples culture adds to the diversity of all our existing cultures, may it be known or unknown. The groups that advocate Indigenous Peoples’ rights are careful in not overstepping or repressing other people’s rights and culture too. One of the ways the group disseminates information is through the Cultural Survival Quarterly.
This group also tries to stop environmental destruction where some of the Indigenous Peoples live. Indigenous Peoples are actually one of the groups that care most about the environment. They comprise about 5% of the world’s population and 15% of the world’s less-fortunate, in terms of finances. These people are distributed in almost everywhere in the world, most of them live in Asia.
Despite all the obstacles, such as the government ignoring the Indigenous Peoples because of their status in the society, they endured it and continued to fight for their rights.
Some of the people that are part of the Cultural Survival group are indigenous leaders, members of different indigenous groups and even non-indigenous peoples are involved. As of writing, Suzanne Benally is the current Executive Director of the organization. She is the first Indigenous director named for the group, as her mother is Navajo and her father is Santa Clara Tewa in New Mexico. Having her spearheading the organization is a great thing because she can practice cultural relativism. She may not be a descendant from all the Indigenous groups combined, but she is more aware of the issues and concerns that Indigent peoples face and has encountered them first-hand as opposed to a non-Indigent person. Benally is keen on tackling these development and environmental issues while defending Indigenous rights at the same time.
The Cultural Survival works closely with Indigenous media producers that are also advocates of giving Indigenous Peoples recognition of their right and voice on issues that will affect their respective...